Q. What if a person dies without a will?

The state of Utah will decide how your property is distributed to your beneficiaries, namely your spouse, children and close relatives. If you have minor children, a judge will decide who will care for them.

Q. What is a living trust?

A living trust is a legal document in which a trust is created for you during your lifetime that allows easy transfer of your assets and property to your beneficiaries and heirs.

Q. What is the difference between a last will and a living trust?

A last will provides detailed instructions on how property and assets will be managed and distributed when an individual dies. It becomes effective only after the individual’s death and after the will has been accepted by the court in a probate proceeding. Upon acceptance by the court, an executor or representative is appointed and given authority to carry out an individual’s wishes as detailed in the last will.

A living trust bypasses probate and provides detailed instructions on how property and assets which are held in the trust are to be managed and distributed. A living trust becomes effective upon its creation and provides for the transfer of authority to a successor trustee or representative without court involvement in the event of disability or death.

Q. What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone to act on your behalf in a specified matter or other legal and financial matters. This person is known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.

Q. What is a health care directive?

An advance health care directive is a legal document that communicates your end-of-life decisions and healthcare wishes if you are incapacitated and/or unable to do so yourself. Under Utah law, an advance health care directive consists of two parts: a living will and health care power of attorney.

Q. What is a living will?

A living will is a document that allows you to specify in advance your end-of-life-decisions and desires for specific types of medical procedures and treatment options to receive or withhold if you become incapacitated, terminally ill, permanently unconscious, or otherwise unable to do so.

Q. What is the difference between a last will and a living will?

A last will is a testamentary document, which specifies your final wishes, how you’d like to distribute your property after death, and who will care for your minor children. A living will is a medical directive that communicates your end-of-life wishes in the event you are incapacitated or unable to do so regarding things such as treatment options, life support, organ donation, and others.

Q. What is probate?

Probate is the process of obtaining authority to handle the affairs of someone who has died with assets that require proper authority to transfer.