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Terms & Definitions - D

Alphabetical Listing of Utah Estate Planning Terms

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

Death Tax: a term sometimes used to refer to a tax imposed on property that is transferred upon a person's death, either by will or by trust. The term is most often used in reference to the federal estate tax. As of 2017, Utah does not impose an estate tax.

Decedent: In Utah estate planning, the term decedent refers simply to the person who has died. Another term often used to refer to a person who has died is testator. Technically, the term testator refers specifically to a person who has left a valid will prior to death, whereas decedent refers to any person who has died, whether with a will or intestate.

Deed: A deed is a legal document used to transfer or convey title in Utah real property to another person. A properly written deed can contribute to the smooth operation of a Utah estate plan, by transferring ownership to you in a way that will avoid probate. The most common way that a deed is used to avoid probate is when a husband and wife hold title to real property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. This means that when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse automatically assumes full ownership of the property without the need to file for probate. On the other hand, if the deed is not correctly drafted, the language of the deed can trigger the necessity of filing a probate action. Also, the use of a deed in this way will only avoid probate for the first spouse. Without taking other estate planning steps, a Utah probate proceeding will be necessary after the second spouse dies.

Descendant: includes all of a person's descendants of all generations who have a relationship of parent and child (i.e., children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.). The terms 'parent' and 'child' have the meaning defined in the Utah probate code (Utah Code Ann. Title 75). The term 'descendant' has the same meaning as the term 'issue.'

Devise: The term devise in Utah estate planning law, when used as a verb, means to give, transfer, or otherwise dispose of personal property or real property through a will. When used as a noun, it refers to a testamentary (through a will) disposition of real or personal property. A devisee is one who is designated in a will to receive a devise.

Devisee: a person who is entitled to receive property from a decedent's estate under the terms of a will. The term "heir" is often used interchangeably with the term "devisee." More precisely, under Utah law the term "heir" refers to a person who is entitled to receive property under Utah's intestacy laws from the estate of a person who has died without a will.

Disability: for purposes of the Utah probate code, means a condition that can serve as cause (or reason) for a protective order (such as a conservatorship), and can include minority, or a condition that prevents a person from being able to manage the person's own property or affairs effectively, such as mental illness, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs or alcohol, confinement, detention by a foreign power, or disappearance.

Distributee: includes any person who receives property from a decedent through his personal representative, but does not include creditors or purchasers of such property. A testamentary trustee is considered a distributee under the Utah probate code only to the extent that distributed assets remain in his hands. A beneficiary of a testamentary trust who receives distributions from that trust is considered to be a distributee of the personal representative.

Durable Power of Attorney: a power of attorney is a document by which a person may authorize another person to act in their behalf. Under Utah law, a durable power of attorney differs from an ordinary power of attorney in that it continues to be effective even if the person granting the power of attorney becomes incapacitated. There is a common misconception that a durable power of attorney can be used to distribute a person's property after the person's death. This is incorrect, as all powers of attorney become ineffective upon the death of the person giving the power of attorney.

Finding an Wills & Trusts Attorney in Utah

Utah Wills Trusts & Estate Planning Attorney Salt LakeCookie-cutter estate planning forms may be useful in creating a "legally valid" will or trust. But downloadable online forms may get the job done when it comes to actually meeting your individual and family needs and goals.

We take the time that is necessary, meeting personally with each client, listening and discussing their circumstances so that we can create a customized estate plan tailored to accomplish what each client needs to have done. A living trust, last will and testament, durable power of attorney, and advance health care directive are important estate planning tools that can play important roles in a comprehensive estate plan. Contact us today to see how we can help put these 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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