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Terms & Definitions - R-S

Alphabetical Listing of Utah Estate Planning Terms

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

Registrar: Under Utah Code Ann. 75-1-307, the person serving as registrar in a Utah probate action "shall be a judge of the court." However, in practice, many functions of a registrar are performed by clerks of the court. Under an informal probate proceeding in Utah, the registrar's duties include determining whether the probate application is properly completed, making certain findings of fact, appointing a personal representative, and issuing letters testamentary.

Revocable Trust: as applied to a trust in Utah, the term "revocable" means that the trust can be revoked or terminated by the settlor without the consent of the trustee, beneficiaries, or other interested parties. Under Utah law, a revocable trust typically can also be modified by the settlor without consent. Most revocable living trusts in Utah are written so that they become irrevocable upon the death of the settlor.

Self-Proving Will: a will is made self-proving under Utah law when it is signed by the testator and witnessed by the required number of witnesses (two) in the presence of a notary or other officer authorized to administer oaths. A notary public is the most common "officer" used to make a Utah will self-proving. A self-proving will can make the probate process much simpler, since Utah probate courts can accept the will without requiring additional proof outside of the will itself. If a will is not executed and witnessed in the presence of a notary, it can made self-proving after the fact by following essentially the same procedure.

Settlement: in the context of a decedent's estate, the Utah probate code defines "settlement" as the full process of administering, distributing, and closing the decedent's estate. Settlement can occur with or without the involvement of a Utah probate court. One common goal of effective estate planning in Utah is to avoid the necessity of involving the probate courts. While a will is an important part of any well-made estate plan, a living trust is often an important tool used to allow settlement of the estate without filing a probate action.

Settlor: Under the Utah Uniform Trust Act, a settlor includes any person who creates, or contributes property to, a trust. A trust may have more than one settlor. If more than one person contributes property to a trust, then each person is considered a settlor over that portion of the trust property that is attributable to that person's contribution.

Many Utah living trusts are created by a husband and wife, with property being contributed to the trust by both the husband and the wife. In such a circumstance, both husband and wife would be considered "settlors" of the trust.

Small Estates Affidavit: an affidavit that can be used in lieu of a probate proceeding to transfer certain property belonging of a decedent to the successor of the decedent. Thirty days after the death of the decedent, a Utah small estates affidavit can be used to transfer tangible personal property and certain financial instruments, but cannot be used to transfer real property (homes, condominiums, land, etc.). To qualify to use a small estates affidavit in lieu of probate in Utah, the total value of the estate subject to administration must not exceed $100,000, and may also include up to four motor vehicles, boats, trailers, or semitrailers. A small estates affidavit cannot be used in Utah if an application or petition to appoint a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction. Use of a small estates affidavit is generally not advised if disputes over the estate are anticipated.

Successor: Under the Utah probate code, the term "successor" includes any person, excluding a creditor, who is entitled to receive a distribution of property from the estate of a decedent. This can include both distributions under a decedent's will, through intestacy proceedings, or other distributions under the Utah probate code.

Supervised Administration: settlement of a decedent's estate under the continuing authority and supervision of the Utah probate court. In many cases, the administration, distribution, and settlement of an estate is done without a requirement to report to or be directed by the court. In some Utah probate cases, the court will require a supervised administrator, who will be responsible both to the court and to the interested party (heirs, devisees, etc.) and will be subject to direction by the court. The Utah probate court will retain continuing authority over the estate until the administration and settlement of the estate is complete, and an order is entered approving the distribution of the estate and discharging the personal representative.

Survive: an individual is considered to survive another individual for most purposes of the Utah probate code if that individual does not predecease the other individual. Complications can arise in determining who is entitled to inherit or receive distributions from a decedent's estate when the decedent dies simultaneously with a spouse or other person associated with the decedent's estate, or under circumstances which make it impossible to determine which person died first. To avoid such complications, many Utah estate planners will include a clause in a will or trust designating which person should be considered to have died first in the event of a simultaneous death, or requiring that a person must survive the decedent by at least 30 days in order to be entitled to inherit.

Finding an Estate Planning Attorney in Utah

Utah Wills Trusts & Estate Planning Attorney Salt LakeA last will and testament, living trust, durable power of attorney, and advance health care directive can each play an important role in a comprehensive estate plan. We take the time needed to help you understanding how each of these estate planning tools can benefit you and your family, and how each of these tools can be customized to meet your individual and family needs and circumstances. Contact us today to see how we can help 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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