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Terms & Definitions - K-Q

Alphabetical Listing of Utah Estate Planning Terms

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

Letters: under the Utah probate code, the term 'letters' includes letters testamentary, letters of administration, letters of guardianship, and letters of conservatorship. Letters testamentary and letters of administration are issued by the probate court to authorize the administration of a decedent's estate. Letters of guardianship and letters of conservatorship are issued by the probate court to authorize the management of the affairs of a minor child or of an incapacitated person.

Letters of Guardianship: a Utah probate court will issue letters of guardianship as proof of a person's authority to act as guardian of a minor child or an incapacitated person. Letters of guardianship may be issued by a probate court in cases where a parent has passed away, in cases where a living parent has designated another person to act in the role of guardian, or in cases where parental rights have been terminated or suspended.

For individuals or couples who have minor children, a will can be used to nominate a guardian to serve upon the parent(s) death. A conservator may be named separately, or a guardian may be given the authority of both guardian and conservator.

Letters Testamentary: a document issued by a Utah probate court to serve as proof that a person is authorized to act as the personal representative of the estate of a decedent. Letters testamentary (and sometimes the death certificate) provide the proof necessary to allow the personal representative (executor or administrator) to take control of the assets of the estate and make the transfers necessary to distribute the estate assets.

Living Trust: a Utah living trust is a trust that is established during the lifetime of the grantor or trustor. A testamentary trust is a trust that is created by a person's will, and that only comes into existence on the person's death. Living trusts are estate planning tools that are often used in combination with a will, with the goal of avoiding probate. Sometimes referred to as an "inter vivos" trust, under Utah law a living trust can be either revocable or irrevocable. There are advantages and disadvantages to both revocable and irrevocable living trusts. You should consult with an attorney to determine which is most appropriate for your circumstances.

Living Will: a legal document that allows a person to express their intent and desire relating to health care decisions, particularly with regard to heroic measures or end-of-life care decisions. In Utah, a living will is more formally referred to as an "advance health care directive." The legislature has set forth, by statute, the policies and legal procedures involved with an advance health care directive. However, individuals are given a great degree of latitude in determining what kind of health care procedures to accept or reject, and whom to designate as agent.

Minor Guardianship: A guardianship over a minor in Utah is generally established by court action. A guardian over a minor is charged with the responsibility to care for the minor. Although a parent may use a will or other written instrument to nominate another adult to act as guardian of a minor child after the parent dies, this kind of appointment will only become effective upon filing an acceptance of appointment in the appropriate court. If both parents have died without nominating a guardian, the court will have to determine who will be the child's guardian. Under some circumstances, a school board can appoint a guardian over a minor child. See also, conservator and adult guardianship.

Personal Representative: a person named in a will or appointed by a court to administer the estate of a deceased person. Under the Utah probate code, the term "personal representative" includes an administrator, executor, successor personal representative, special administrator, and persons who perform substantially the same function.

Probate: Under Utah law, the term probate refers to legal proceedings concerning the affairs of deceased persons, missing persons, incapacitated persons, protected persons, adult guardianships, and minors. Most commonly, the term is used in conjunction with court proceedings to determine the appropriate distribution of the estate of a person who is deceased (either with or without a will). But Utah's probate court's also regularly hear cases involving guardianships of both minors and incapacitated adults. The term is also used to refer to the division of the Utah court system that hears probate cases.

Qualified Beneficiary: Under Utah Uniform Trust Code, a qualified beneficiary is specifically defined as a beneficiary of a trust who, as of the date the beneficiary's qualification is determined, is either "a current or permissible distributee of trust income or principal," or "would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the trust terminated on that date."

Finding an Estate Planning Attorney in Utah

Utah Wills Trusts & Estate Planning Attorney Salt LakeThe Internet has many websites with downloadable estate planning forms that claim to be able to replace the advice of a good attorney. But an estate plan needs to be tailored to your personal and family needs and circumstances. In order to create this kind of customized estate plan, we work directly with each client, taking the time necessary to understand the goals that they most want to accomplish. A living trust, last will and testament, durable power of attorney, and advance health care directive are estate planning tools 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.

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