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If you die without a will, what will happen to your estate?

You may think you can live without a will, but what happens if you die without one? There are many benefits to estate planning, and one of them is the peace of mind that you get when you know what is going to happen to your assets and savings after your passing. You worked hard to build your Utah estate and gain property, and you have the right to decide what happens to it in the future.

If you do not have a will, you are taking a significant risk. There is no guarantee that your beneficiaries will maintain control over your property, and it could result in financial loss for loved ones left behind. A will is not a luxury reserved for the wealthy but is a necessary step for every individual.

Your property has to go somewhere

After your death, something will happen to your estate eventually. At some point, it must go somewhere, but where will that be? Who decides who gets what? If you die without a will, the following could happen to your estate:

  • The local probate court will appoint an administrator of your estate.
  • The administrator has the responsibility of distributing your estate.
  • The distribution of property will follow Utah state law.
  • The cost of estate distribution by the state is steep, and fees come out of money in the estate.
  • Family members cannot have access to money or assets until all required fees are paid.

You may think that a will is unnecessary because your estate is too small or you have already informed loved ones of how you want your property distributed, but that is not enough. Verbal agreements and out-of-date wills are not legally enforceable, and it could lead to extensive and costly legal complications for the family members you leave behind.

Helpful estate planning tools

For some people, a simple will is enough to protect interests and ensure that you have your affairs in order. However, you may need more protection than what a will can afford. You could benefit from the formation of one of the various types of trusts, but an experienced estate planning lawyer can explain the tools that will be most beneficial to ensure that you and your loved ones are cared for and secure.

From a simple will to medical directives, you will find great benefit in seeking the opinion of an attorney who can evaluate your case and decide the documents you need as part of your uniquely tailored estate plan.

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Stevenson Smith Hood P.C. | 3986 Washington Blvd. Ogden, UT 84403 | Phone: 801-399-9910 | Fax:801-399-9954 | Map & Directions