Estate planning, or leaving behind wills, is one of the most important steps any person can take to make sure that their final property and health care wishes are honored, and that loved ones are provided for in their absence.

Probate is the process by which the affairs of the deceased are settled. Probate courts also handle issues such as name changes and guardianship proceedings. For additional details on wills and probate, please read through these Frequently Asked Questions.

Wills may be made by anyone “legally competent” (At least 18 years old and of sound mind) It is important when making a will, that you understand the property that you own, it’s value, and whom you will be leaving your belongings to.

How-To: Make Wills

Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney may help you avoid confusion as well as inform you of your options when making wills. Generally, wills should:

Identify itself as a will

Expressly revoke all previous wills and codicils (Even if there are none)

Appoint a personal representative

Appoint a guardian where minor children are (Or may be) involved

Provide a formula or method for distributing your property.

Your will may also want to include information such as:

Provisions leaving specific items to specific people

Wishes concerning funeral and burial arrangements

Waiving of any requirement of a bond for the personal representative

(Source: Utah State Bar)

Additionally, wills should be signed by the testator (The person making the will) or in the testator’s name by an individual in the testator’s presence. It should also be signed by a minimum of two individuals who have signed after witnessing either the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgement of the will. For more details on these and other requirements, please refer to Utah Uniform Probate Code: 75-2-501.

For more information on Wills in Utah, click here.