Wills & Trusts Attorney in Utah
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family is to have a will. It spells out precisely how you want things to be handled, and protects your spouse, children, and any beneficiaries. As everyone’s situation is different, an experienced attorney at Hepworth & Associates can help to properly prepare a will that effectively and efficiently manages how your estate is handled. After you pass on, your will governs the following:
- How your estate should be distributed
- If necessary who takes care of your minor children
- Avoids the long probate process
- Minimizes estate taxes
- Directs the awards of gifts and donations
- You determine who settles your financial matters
- It can be changed if and when you choose
Do You Need a Trust?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to Wills and Trusts. In a Will, a settlor can specify the items above and even outline funeral arrangements. Whereas a trust can help make plans in the event of a disability and does not pass through probate. A will goes into effect only after your passing, a trust is in effect when it is created. Every situation deserves a custom solution, so the professionals at Hepworth & Associates work to understand your specific needs and utilize the best tools to handle your estate plan.
What Type of Trust?
Our expert attorneys consult with you to help determine the best approach to your desired result. Below is an overview of several types of trusts commonly used in Utah:
A revocable trust is a common trust used to avoid probate, however, it does not provide protection from creditors. Because a revocable trust is revocable and amendable by the person who created and funded the trust, that person’s creditors can reach the trust assets just as they could reach assets that are owned individually.
Irrevocable Trusts for Third-Party Beneficiaries
An irrevocable trust that is created by someone other than a trust beneficiary can provide asset protection from the beneficiary’s creditors. If the trust requires that all distributions from the trust be in the trustee’s discretion, then property that is held in an irrevocable trust can be reached by the beneficiary’s creditors only after it has been distributed to the beneficiary.
Self-Settled Irrevocable Trusts
An irrevocable trust of which the person who created and funded the trust is also a beneficiary offers relatively little protection from his or her creditors. The creditors can generally reach the maximum amount of the trust’s assets that could be distributed to the debtor.
Self-Settled Asset Protection Trusts
Utah’s Domestic Asset Protection Trust statute allows a person to create and fund an irrevocable trust with their own assets. So long as the statute requirements are satisfied, future creditors will not be able to reach trust property, will not be able to force distributions, and will not be able to require the trustees to pay the creditor directly. A creditor can reach assets only after the distribution has been made to the debtor individually.
A self-settled asset protection trust must have at least one trustee who is a Utah resident or company. The creator of the trust may serve as a co-trustee, but may not participate in distribution decisions.
A self-settled asset protection trust does not protect property transferred to the trust with the intent to defraud a creditor. A creditor who exists at the time the trust may bring an action to enforce a claim within the later of two years after the property is transferred or one year after the creditor could have reasonably discovered the transfer. Although, the creator of the trust may shorten this period to 120 days by sending notice to known creditors and publishing notice in a newspaper in the county where the creator lives.