Unlike certain types of clothing, “one size fits all” does not apply in probate. Luckily, Utah law provides for different types of probate actions depending on the estate to be administered. You will need to confer with a probate attorney to determine what type of probate case to file for your particular matter, but below is some general guidance:
- Small Estate Affidavit. If the estate to be administered is small enough, you may be allowed to avoid the probate process by filing a “small estate affidavit.” Currently, if the net value of the deceased person’s property does not exceed $100,000, the estate qualifies. If the estate involves a house or other real property, you cannot use the small estate affidavit.
- Informal Probate. Like its name indicates, an informal probate is used for simple, uncontested estates. It is the most commonly filed type of probate in Utah and it typically is less expensive than formal probate. Although the court is involved, that involvement is minimal and no court appearances need to be made. However, an inventory of the estate must still be made. An attorney is essential to this process.
- Formal Probate. If one or more heirs or beneficiaries object to the personal representative appointed, challenge the validity of the will, if you can’t find the original will, or there are other disputes involved in the administration of the estate, a formal probate proceeding is required. A formal probate typically involves the filing of several pleadings, court hearings, and active involvement of attorneys.
- Petition to Determine Heirs. If the decedent died without a will or more than three years have passed since the individual died and the will was not filed for probate within that time, a Petition for an Order Determining Heirs must be filed. In these types of cases, the Utah Uniform Probate Code sets forth who the heirs are and what they are entitled to inherit. An attorney is necessary to properly manage this process.
- Ancillary Probate. If the decedent was domiciled outside the state of Utah at the time he or she died, a probate has been filed in the other state, and the decedent owned real property in Utah, an Ancillary Probate for Out-of-State Decedents can be filed to properly administer the Utah property. Ancillary probates are relatively simple and involve merely filing copies of probate documents from the other state with a Utah court.
If you are interested in learning more about the probate process or how you can avoid the process with a comprehensive estate plan, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 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.