A will guarantees specific control over the distribution of your hard-earned assets among your beloved daily members. Suppose you are trying to find a question on what happens if you die without a will in Utah. To answer this question, Ruesch and Reeve Legal is here to guide you better and give a certain level of understanding on how you can be prepared and understand the importance of having a will.

To be put in a short understanding, under the Utah law, if a valid will is not present, your entire assets and estates will pass through some inflexible rules. Which means it will be placed on the priority of those who are next of kin to you. In case if no relatives can be located, your entire state will become the property of the state.  

What happens if you die with a will in Utah

To make the Will valid, there are some requirements. First, you must acknowledge or sign your Will in front of two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the Will within a reasonable amount of time. To make your will legal, you don’t need to notarize it. You can “self-prove” your Will, but you need to take it to a notary. Self-proving accelerates probate because the court can accept the choice without speaking with the witnesses. Your Will can be self-proved by having your witnesses sign an affidavit stating who you are and how you knew each other.

The probate process is following if the Will has been deemed valid. Utah is one state that has the Uniform Probate Code. This means that a set of standard rules apply to Utah and other conditions. Probate proceedings are not usually required if the deceased person had any assets in their sole name. Transferring assets to another owner, also called “non-probate property”, is possible without probate. Also, when creditors of the deceased make claims for repayment, it is called probate.

Utah has simplified probate procedures to help smaller estates. After all liens and encumbrances, if the estate’s value is less than $100,000, then the heirs can skip probate. An heir simply needs to prepare an affidavit stating that they have the right to a particular asset. The affidavit must be signed under oath. The affidavit is signed under oath by the institution or person who holds the asset. If the estate value is less than $100,000, this procedure can be used to transfer four boats, motor vehicles, trailers, or semi-trailers. There is a 30-day wait period.

For smaller estates, there is an alternative simplified probate process. This process can be used if the real estate’s value, after deducting liens and encumbrances, is less than the homestead allowance or exempt property, family allowance, and administration costs. The executor must request the simplified process by filing a written request to the local probate court. The executor must also file a sworn declaration stating that the estate qualifies financially for the simplified probate process. It should also list the estate assets. Also, the sworn statement must declare that executors have distributed assets to the inheritors and sent a closing argument to creditors and the inheritors. The simplified probate process is not required if the affidavit procedure has been used.

What happens if you die without a will in Utah

If you are concerned about estate planning or where your assets will go after your death, it is not a good idea. These types of estates are called “intestate” in Utah inheritance law. This means that there is no valid will. To know who inherits what property and how much, the court will follow intestate succession laws. The probate court will name a personal representative to manage the deceased’s estate if there isn’t a will.

There are often extenuating circumstances when someone dies intestate. However, it is best to avoid putting your loved one through that type of stress. A financial advisor specializing in legacy planning can help you decide what kind of estate plan to create. Hopefully, this section will help you understand what happens if you die without a will in Utah.

Spouses under Utah Inheritance Law

Utah is an equitable state. If you die intestate and leave behind a spouse, your spouse will inherit the property. This depends on whether you have living descendants. You can have children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren as descendants. If you die without any descendants or no surviving descendants of you, your spouse will inherit your entire intestate property. Your spouse will inherit all intestate property if you have no descendants and a spouse.

Utah Inheritance Law

What Happens if you Die Without a Will in Utah

Your Utah intestate will mean that your children receive an “intestate portion” of your property if you die. Each child will depend on how many children you have and whether you are married or single.

Children or grandchildren of a different relationship will inherit some intestate property if they are not your spouse’s descendants. Your spouse will inherit $75,000 of your intestate assets and half the remaining intestate properties. The rest will be passed on to your descendants.

Utah’s intestate estate includes non-probate transfer values. This means that the non-probate transfers are legally considered an “advancement,” meaning that their value will be taken from the beneficiary’s intestate share. The beneficiary will not be able to inherit any more if the advance amount exceeds the beneficiary’s entitlement under the intestate succession laws.

Utah’s intestacy laws only allow those who are legally considered your children to inherit from you. Lawfully adopted children are entitled to the same intestate share rights as biological children. If the child is adopted by someone other than your spouse and was placed up for adoption, they will not be legally eligible to inherit intestate property from the deceased. Stepchildren and foster children who were not legally adopted by the dead do not qualify for a share of the deceased’s children.

Any new born to the decedent’s wife during their marriage is presumed to be his child. Children born after marriage can still get their share, provided that paternity is acknowledged by the decedent and otherwise established under Utah law. If the child is born after the decedent’s death, the children may still be entitled to their share as long as they live at least 120 hours. If their parents are no longer alive, grandchildren will be entitled to a portion of the inheritance.

Other Utah Inheritance Law

Utah has a survivorship time. Utah’s Intestate Succession Law requires that the heir must live at least 120 hours after the decedent’s death to be eligible for inheritance. Relatives conceived before your death but born after the decedent’s passing can inherit the same. To be eligible for inheritance, relatives who are posthumous must live at least 120 hours following birth.

In inheritance, immigration status does not matter. No matter their citizenship status, a relative can inherit a portion of their assets. Half-relatives inherit the same amount as their “whole” relatives. Your half-sibling, for example, would inherit the same amount as any other sibling.

Non-probate transfers are considered advancements on a relative’s share of an estate in Utah. This means that an heir will receive life insurance proceeds and funds from a payable-on-death account as part of their share. If you give a gift while you are still alive to a future inheritor, and if they agree in writing that it should be an advance on their inheritance or if the inheritor has agreed in writing, then the value of the gift will be subtracted from their share.

In Conclusion

Probably by now, you would have understood what happens if you die without a Will in Utah, and Ruesch and Reeve Legal have tried their best in making you aware of the importance of it. If you still have any questions about what happens if you die without a will in Utah or are confused about it, get in touch with our experts, and we will be happy to help you clear any doubts.