Wills

How do you want your estate managed after your death?
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Wills Customized to Fit Your Needs

A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that states your direction on how to distribute your property when you die. You can name one or more persons to be the guardian of your minor children, if you should die. Additionally, in your will, you nominate who you want to be the Personal Representative (formerly called Executor) of your estate. You can make specific bequests, general bequests and residual bequests.

There are different types of Last Wills and Testaments that you should carefully consider. Depending upon your particular circumstance, any of the following types of Wills may be the key to your successful estate plan:

  1. Simple Will
  2. Reciprocal Wills
  3. Contractual Wills
  4. Testamentary Trust Wills
  5. Pour-over Wills
  6. Power of Appointment Wills
  7. many others.

We create and customize Wills to fit your personal needs.

A Last Will and Testament is recommended for everyone, but it is not required by law. If you die without a will, the government is not going to take your assets. (If you owe valid debts to the government at your death, the government may have rights to your assets after you die.) However, if you die without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the statutes created by the Utah State Legislature.   If YOU want to determine how your assets are distributed after your death, and NOT THE STATE, then a will is vital. Call today to discuss the Last Will and Testament that will best fit your needs.

Questions and Answers Regarding Wills

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Do I have to leave something in my Will to my children?

No.  You are not required to leave anything in your Will to your children.  You should specify in your Will that you are leaving out a child or certain children and specifically name which children are to be left out and why they are being left out, in order to avoid a Will contest.  If you don’t want to put the reason in the Will, you should at least have a memorandum in the attorney’s file.

Who will take care of my children when I die?

You may designate guardians for your minor children in your Last Will and Testament. This allows the judge, who must make these important decisions, to know your desires even though you have died.

What will happen to my children after I die if I die without a will?

If you have minor children when you die and you do not have a will that nominates a guardian, there will be a court hearing in which a judge will determine who will best be the guardian of your children. In a will, however, you can nominate who you want to be the guardian of your minor children after your passing, and if the will is valid, the court must respect your nomination in your will unless someone challenges your nomination.

Can I just make my own will?

This is a very common question and all too often an issue the can create huge problems for your family after your death.  In order to give yourself and your heirs the best opportunity to have a legally valid will, that complies with Utah law, we recommend that an attorney prepare your will and that an attorney supervise its execution.

If I am married, does my spouse need a will too or is my will enough?

It is impossible to know who will die first. You and your spouse should both have a will. Fortunately, because both the husband and wife often have the same desires for the disposition of their assets, personal representatives, guardians and other provisions, a will for your spouse can be created for no additional cost.

Can I use a Will or Trust that I found on the Internet?

Maybe… The trouble is you will not be around to find out. Many people have copied Wills or purchased forms for estate planning. Much litigation surrounds the validity and effectiveness of those documents. When you hire Attorney John K. Rice to prepare your estate documents you will know that your wishes have been legally and validly documented and must be followed upon your death. In addition, we take the time to answer your questions and create a Will customized to meet your needs and specifications.

How do I alter or revoke my Will?

A Will can be revoked by being destroyed (torn, shredded).  However, if the Will is not replaced, your estate may be subject to the Laws of Intestacy.  A Will can be changed by a Codicil, and a Trust can be changed by an Amendment or Restatement.  NEITHER SHOULD BE CHANGED BY HANDWRITTEN OR TYPEWRITTEN MARKS ON THE DOCUMENTS THEMSELVES.  Frequently, such changes will make the Will or Trust inadmissible.  If you wish to change or revoke your Will or Trust, please contact our office so that the change can be implemented properly.

When is someone mentally incapacitated to make a Will?

To have capacity to make a Will, a person needs to know the nature and extent of their holdings (What do they own?), the natural objects of their bounty (Who are their family members?), and be able to form a rational plan of disposition (Who do they want to leave the money to?)

What are the requirements to execute a valid Will?

To have a valid Will, someone needs to be over 18 years of age and mentally competent.  It needs to be in writing and must be signed in front of two witnesses.  Good practice is to have an acknowledgment signed by a Notary Public so that the Will is self proving in almost any state.

Are handwritten or oral Wills valid?

Oral Wills are not valid, but handwritten Wills are valid.  However, handwritten Wills cause a tremendous amount of probate litigation.  The cost of having a Will professionally prepared is very small compared to the cost of the probate litigation that often results from a handwritten Wills

Can I make a Will in this state if I own property in another state?

You should make your Will in the state in which you have your principal residence.  If you own real estate in another state, you should consider a Living Trust so that you can avoid probate in the other state.