Probate law primarily deals with death and incapacity. When people speak of probate they are simply referring to the judicial process whereby someone is appointed to make decisions regarding yourself or your “stuff”. To explain: while you are alive and competent there is someone (you) in existence who has authority to make decisions regarding yourself and your “stuff” – your property and assets. While you are alive and competent you have the authority to make decisions regarding your health care, living situation, educational and professional pursuits etc. Likewise, you have the authority to buy, sell, trade, giveaway, mortgage, or encumber any or all of your assets. However, if you die or become incapacitated the question becomes “who will make decisions regarding my care and/or my assets?” Probate laws were enacted to resolve these questions.
Probate laws also allow you to resolve those questions yourself prior to your passing or becoming incapacitated. Estate planning is the process whereby you can direct how you and your estate should be managed. Estate plan documents such as a trust, power of attorney, and/or living will can be drafted in advance of you death or incapacity and are used to name the persons you would like to manage your affairs, and guide them as to how you would like your affairs managed. If you have not drafted estate plan documents, then someone else must go through a judicial proceeding to obtain authority to make decisions for you and your assets. This judicial process typically consists of an interested party (your spouse, child, or other care giver) filing a petition with the court requesting that they be appointed as your legal representative. The person representing you and your interests if you became incapacitated would be your guardian and/or conservator . The person representing your interests after your passing would be your personal representative.
There are many misnomers about Probate, and you may or may not want to avoid it depending on your particular circumstance. Since death comes to us all, the question of who will take care of you and your assets will be determined with or without your input. You should at least explore your options and obtain some guidance from a trusted Utah probate attorney, Utah estate planning attorney, or Utah elder law attorney to determine what’s right for you.
Iuvo Law can help you with all of your probate needs and has already helped people in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, and Summit counties; and worked with individuals from Ogden, Roy, Farmington, Layton, Centerville, Bountiful, North Salt Lake, Woods Cross, Clinton, Morgan, Salt Lake City, Holladay, West Jordan, Taylorsville, and Park City.
Contact us for a free and confidential consultation and get help today.