When a person dies without a Last Will and Testament, it is called dying “intestate.” Because there is no Will to direct how to distribute your estate, Utah law provides the method of distribution. These laws are referred to as the “laws of intestacy.”
Utah’s laws of intestacy set forth the priority in which your loved ones will inherit from you. If you are married and your spouse is the only surviving heir, your entire estate will go to your spouse. Also, if you are married with children who are all children of the same spouse, your spouse is the sole heir. If you are survived by your spouse and at least one child who is not from your spouse, your spouse will inherit the first $75,000 and half the remaining balance, with half the balance going to your children. In this last scenario, the probate court must add in all other transfers which pass outside the probate action into calculating the inheritances. This includes property held jointly or in a trust.
If you die without leaving a spouse or any children, Utah law defines your next of kin in ranked order as (i) descendants (such as grandchildren), (ii) your parents, (iii) your siblings, (iv) other descendants of your parents, and then (v) other relatives. While it is a comfort to know that your estate is not automatically given to the state if you die intestate, dying without a Will often leads to results you would not have wanted. In order to fully protect those you love, it is important to create a comprehensive and effective estate plan.
Don’t leave your loved ones’ inheritance in jeopardy, contact us today. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.