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Terms & Definitions - A

Alphabetical Listing of Utah Estate Planning Terms

AB-C, D, E-F, G-H, I-J, K-Q, R-S, T-Z

AB Trust: An AB trust is a kind of revocable living trust sometimes used by married couples to try to maximize the personal estate tax exemption of each spouse. Upon the death of the first spouse, the trust is split into two separate trusts (trust A and trust B). Trust A, sometimes referred to as the marital deduction trust, becomes irrevocable on the death of the first spouse, and can be used to distribute estate assets to the couple's heirs. Trust B, sometimes referred to as the shelter trust, continues to hold the assets belonging to the surviving spouse.

Administrator: An administrator (or administratrix) is responsible to manage and distribute an estate after a person's death. The term "administrator" is sometimes used interchangeably with "executor" or "personal representative." In some states, an administrator is appointed by a probate court to distribute an estate when the person died intestate (without a will), whereas an executor is the person nominated in a will to distribute the estate. Under Utah law, the term "personal representative" is used for any person charged with managing and distributing an estate, whether nominated by a will or appointed by a court for in intestate estate.  Executors, administrators, special administrators, successor personal representatives, and any person performing substantially the same function can be referred to as "personal representatives."

In Utah, a probate court will issue Letters of Administration to an administrator appointed in an probate case where the decedent died intestate; Letters Testamentary are issued to a personal representative under a last will and testament. Each of these (Letters Testamentary and Letters of Administration) provide essentially the same authority.

Adult Guardianship: Under the Utah probate code, an adult guardianship can be created when a court determines that the proposed adult ward is incapacitated as a result of mental illness, physical illness or disability, mental deficiency, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other reason to a degree that the person lacks sufficient understanding or ability to make or communicate responsible decisions. A court may order a full guardianship or a limited guardianship. A limited guardianship is preferred and is more appropriate in cases where the ward is able to make some decisions on his or her own behalf, but is not capable of managing all of his or her affairs.  

Advance Health Care Directive: Sometimes referred to as a "living will" or "advance medical directive," a Utah advance health care directive allows you to make certain decisions regarding your health care and end-of-life medical care, and to authorize another person to carry out those decisions in the event that you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make or communicate your decisions. In Utah, an advance health care directive can serve the same functions as both a medical power of attorney and living will.

Ancillary Probate: a term that refers to a probate action initiated in a state other than the deceased's primary residence. An ancillary probate action is used to deal with property held in a state other than the deceased's place of residence.  For example, if a person lived in California, but owned vacation property in Utah, the primary probate would occur in California, but an ancillary probate action would be filed in Utah to name the personal representative and issue letters testamentary so that the property in Utah could be distributed to the heirs of the deceased.

Attorney: The term attorney refers to a person who is authorized to act on behalf of another person. Under Utah law, a distinction is made between an "attorney in fact" and an "attorney at law." An attorney at law is a person trained in the law and admitted to practice law under the rules of the Utah Supreme Court and Utah State Bar. An attorney in fact is a person who has been given specific authorization from another person to act on their behalf. This authorization is usually given by means of a written document referred to as a "power of attorney" ("POA"). The person entitled to act under a power of attorney is commonly referred to as an "agent."

Finding an Estate Planning Attorney in Utah

Utah Wills Trusts & Estate Planning Attorney Salt LakeEstate planning is best treated as a process rather than an event. Choosing an attorney you trust and can work well with is an important part of that process. We work personally with clients and take the time necessary to ensure we understand their circumstances and goals. A living trust, last will and testament, durable power of attorney, and advance health care directive can play important roles in a comprehensive estate plan. Contact us today to see how we can help put these important estate planning tools to work for you.

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, Morgan, and Wasatch Counties - and all of Utah.

Stephen W. Howard is Utah attorney, practicing as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we are pleased to provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.
Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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