Estate Planning

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You have worked your entire life to build up an estate, so why not take a little time to ensure that it passes correctly to your desired beneficiaries? Let’s protect your family’s future.

As each estate varies in size and complexity, we will take our time to explore and understand your goals. We will walk you through the estate planning process and develop customized strategies to protect your assets for future generations.

Here are some of the common tools used:

Revocable Trust (often termed the “living trust”)

A Trust helps avoid probate, keeps the estate private, protects against incapacity during life, and you get to see how it works while you are still alive. A Trust is not as complicated as you might think, and there are some very good reasons to have one. First, and probably the one people think of most, is the ability to avoid probate. But why would you want to avoid probate? Well, probate involves the court and is often lengthy.  Because it involves the court, your estate is made public. Often, the probate process is more expensive than preparing a comprehensive estate plan.

Another reason to have a Trust is to protect against incapacity. If you become incapacitated while still owning assets, a court will have to get involved in order to appoint a conservator over those assets. This process can be avoided if the owner of the assets is the Trust. In the event of incapacity, the Trust document controls what happens, without need for a court to get involved.

And finally, one of the best reasons to have a Trust is that you get to see how it functions while you are still alive. A Trust comes into effect immediately, whereas a will only comes into effect at death.

Pour-over Will

A Will ensures that everything in your estate, even if accidentally excluded from the Trust, will go into the trust at death and be dealt with according to the trust documents. The Will can also nominate guardians for minors, appoint Executors, and include burial instructions.

Health Care Directive (often termed the “living will”)

This ensures your desires (end-of-life decisions) are met so that your family isn’t left struggling to make decisions. This is a statutorily authorized form that allows you to make your own end-of-life decisions. Leaving family to make these decisions can create tensions that should not exist in such an already difficult time.

Durable Power of Attorney

This document protects against incapacity during life. In the event of incapacity, and when there are assets that haven’t been placed in the Trust, the holder of this power can take the necessary steps to place your property in the Trust without court intervention.

We have helped many clients in St. George and in various parts of Southern Utah develop an estate plan that fits their needs. Whether you are concerned about simply avoiding probate or are looking for ways to lower your taxable estate, Gurr Brande & Spendlove, PLLC, can help.

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