Utah Probate Basics

Many of our clients come to us because they have lost a loved one and they have no idea if a probate action is necessary or not. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers, but we encourage you to contact us for help with your individual situation.

 Is a probate necessary if the decedent left a will?

Probably. If the decedent left assets or property that needs to pass to heirs, a probate action is necessary whether or not the deceased left a will. A court will follow the terms of the will to determine the heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased’s property.

Is a probate necessary if the person died without a will?

Again, if the individual left assets that need to pass to heirs, a probate action is required. Without a will to provide guidance, the court will follow Utah’s laws of intestacy (Utah Probate Code, sections 75-2-101 through 75-2-103). You may hear the probate case for a person who died without a will referred to as an “appointment action,” which refers to the appointment of a Personal Representative by the court.

Is a probate necessary if there is a Trust?

Maybe. If a Trust has been created and all of the deceased’s property was left in the Trust, it can be an effective way to avoid probate. However, if the decedent left property out of the trust, a probate action may be necessary. A probate may also be needed to defend against lawsuits filed by creditors of the deceased or if the decedent left a minor child who needs to have a guardian appointed.

Can a will from another state be probated in a Utah probate court?

A will drafted in another state can be submitted for probate if the maker of the will resided in Utah or had property located in Utah at the time of his or her death. The will must be valid in the state where it was executed in order to binding in Utah.

If you are wondering if a probate is needed, contact us for the answers you need. 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.