Estate Planning Attorney

Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

Real People. Real Solutions.

The best estate planning attorneys in Utah agree that simply having a “legally binding” document is not enough. Personal advice from an experienced attorney is a key part of ensuring that your estate planning documents will meet your needs and goals.

Contact us today to see how the right attorney can make a difference for you.

Goals for Estate Planning in Utah

Your goals in establishing an estate plan should be determined by assessing your circumstances and needs, and those of your family members and loved ones. For many people, creating a personal estate plan is a way of helping to protect what matters most.

Estate planning goals often include ensuring that minor children or grandchildren are properly cared for and provided for. Other common goals include minimizing unnecessary taxes and avoiding the costs and hassles associated with probate processes. Some hope to leave a legacy of charitable giving. For others, reducing the risk of conflict and argument among heirs and beneficiaries can be an important goal.

No matter what your circumstances are, we work personally with clients to develop an estate plan designed to meet your needs and accomplish your goals.

Foundations of a Personalized Estate Plan

A living trust and a last will and testament often form the foundation of a good estate plan. These two documents serve separate functions but can also work together to ensure that your intentions are followed and goals are met.

A last will and testament is a document that becomes effective only after you have died. A will is often used to name a personal representative, direct the division and distribution of household assets, and nominate a guardian for minor children.

A living trust is a trust that is created by you during your life. A will can be used to create a testamentary trust following your death. But a living trust is created independent of any last will and testament and can become immediately effective upon execution.

A living trust is often used to manage, divide, and distribute more substantial assets following your death and, in some circumstances, while you are still alive. A living trust can be particularly useful for long-term management of assets for minor children or for beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own affairs.

One of the key benefits of a living trust is the ability to divide, manage, and distribute significant assets without requiring the intervention of a probate court action. In many cases, the time and cost savings achieved in avoiding probate can more than make up for the relatively minor costs of creating a living trust.

Regardless of the complexity (or simplicity) of your situation, good advice from an experienced estate planning attorney in Utah can help ensure that your estate plan is designed to meet your needs and accomplish your goals.

Is a will and trust enough?

A will and trust can form the foundation of a good estate plan. Depending on your circumstances, other estate planning tools can be created and used to fill other important roles.

A durable power of attorney (POA) is often used as part of a comprehensive estate plan. When executed as a durable power of attorney, this can be a useful tool in avoiding the need for a court-appointed guardianship in the event of disability or incapacity.

An advance health care directive executed under Utah law can incorporate the functions of both a living will and a health care power of attorney. This document allows you to address your wishes regarding end-of-life care and decisions, to designate an agent who will be responsible for making decisions if you are unable to do so for yourself, and to express other health care-related preferences.

Proper estate planning should involve more than just executing a legally binding will or establishing a valid trust. Understanding how these documents can work together with other estate planning tools is vital to establishing an effective estate plan.

Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney in Utah

With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we work to provide affordable estate planning services to clients throughout Utah. We also offer video consultations and planning sessions for clients who prefer that option.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation to learn how we can help you.