Why Would I Want to Avoid Probate in Utah? (estate planning basics)

May 21, 2015 - Posted by: admin - In category:

taxes - No Responses

As a general rule, court proceedings are something to be avoided, for a variety of reasons.

Those who follow this blog know that we often include cartoon pictures which are most often intended to be humorous. The picture that accompanies today’s post is no except. To be clear, we are NOTintending to give serious commentary on any judge in any state. Again, humor is intended.

That being said, on a serious note, here are a few thoughts related to why you might want to avoid probate in Utah. First and foremost, please remember that probate, like all other court matters, is a public proceeding. If your Will is submitted to probate (as it must be in most instances), that document then becomes a matter of public record. In the short term, this does NOT mean that someone could get a copy of your Will simply by performing a Google search. Rather, someone seeking to get a copy of your Will that has been submitted to probate would have to get a copy from the Court clerk (either in person or through online access to the Court filing system). Even so, the fact remains that your Will would be a public record. While it is also true that very few individuals spend the time and energy to required to obtain copies of other people’s Wills, there are certainly situations where family members, friends, neighbors (and/or old enemies) do take the time to get a copy of a deceased person’s Will.

Pause here to consider whether this public element, by itself, is enough to cause you to seek to avoid probate. For many of our clients, this is enough of a reason for them to undertake the planning required to avoid probate. I can tell you that for me personally, this is enough of a reason. I am a private person by nature and although I do not presently, nor do I expect that I will ever, have a substantial estate, the thought that after I am gone my personal matters would become a part of the public record is just NOTsomething I am interested in making possible. On this note of private persons whose affairs are now very public, go ahead and do an internet search for the Will of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As we all know, Jacqueline was a very private person during her life, especially after the assignation of her husband, President Kennedy. However, notwithstanding what we can safely assume would have been her preference to have things remain private after her passing, she seemingly did not receive very helpful estate planning advice and therefore took the path that guaranteed a lack of continued privacy for her estate following her death. She left only a Will, which is now available for any and all to read from the comfort of their computer.

We will discuss other reasons, in future posts, as to why you and others may wish to avoid probate, but again, please remember that probate is public and if you value your privacy and the privacy of your family and friends, then you may wish to consider and pursue other options for your estate planning.

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