Utah – February 24, 2021
Random events that result in catastrophic injury and death can lead to negative consequences for the care of persons, and the division of assets after death. Individuals should take precautions to have their affairs in order in the event they cannot speak for themselves due to the sudden onset of sickness, long term illness, or catastrophic injury, and significant events that lead to untimely deaths. Experienced estate planning attorneys can assist with the drafting of relevant documents and guidance for individuals as they prepare estate plans.
Estate plans usually include:
- A last will and testament, with guardianship if there are minor children,
- an advanced healthcare directive, and
- a durable power of attorney.
Utah laws require individuals who are making a will to be eighteen (18) years old and of sound mind, meaning they are legally competent to make decisions. Wills must be in writing, signed by a testator and two witnesses. When a testator cannot physically sign a document, they may direct another person to do it on their behalf. Wills must be signed in the testator’s presence to be considered valid. Elder law attorneys can guide actions of individuals who are interested in preparing wills, healthcare directives and durable powers of attorney for business and medical affairs.
Purpose of a will.
A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined. An experienced estate planning attorney can make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so that a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death.
Common types of wills.
Pour Over Will is used when there is a revocable trust and instead of making the distributions to a single beneficiary, or beneficiaries, the will generally makes one distribution into the Trust.
Medicaid Will be used to create a supplemental trust fund in order to allow a spouse who is receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term medical care to continue eligibility after the other spouse dies.
Will With Testamentary Trust is a last will and testament that adds a trust fund for children or other beneficiaries, creating a trust that becomes effective upon the death of the testator.
Holographic, or Handwritten Wills may be recognized in some states, but an estate planning attorney can guide individuals regarding the legitimacy of this type of will document.
Nuncupative Will is an oral will when and individual speaks their last wishes out loud (“dying declaration”), and may be valid in some states depending upon witnesses, or may have to be written down. There may be limitations for disposing of property.
A Living Will addresses common end-of-life care decisions including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotics, or antiviral medications, palliative care, organ, and tissue donations, and donating a body for scientific studies.
Estate planning attorneys draft essential documentation, sometimes called a medical directive or advance directive, to cover an individual, or family members regarding medical power of attorney and do not resuscitate orders. It is best to speak with a lawyer in Utah to ensure individual estate planning and probate laws are followed.
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