Whether or not you are a fan of Michael Jackson, his death teaches some important lessons about how to plan for your family upon your death. Michael Jackson had a will; he established a living trust; he named guardians for his minor children; and he assembled a good team to help carry out his wishes. It just goes to show that even well planned estates can run into problems. So, in the words of Michael Jackson, “I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror, I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways.” Change your ways, and get your estate plan completed by calling Hillyard, Anderson & Olsen at (435) 752-2610 for a free consultation. When you do, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Have a Will

If you fail to have a Will, Utah law will decide who will get your property. A Will allows you to decide who your property will go to, and it allows you to name a personal representative to carry out your stated wishes upon your death.

2. Consider a Revocable Trust/Living Trust

A revocable or living trust helps you transfer all of your property into a separate legal entity. Although you transfer the property, a trust allows you to maintain control as the trustee during your life. After your death, the control goes to a trustee that you choose. The trustee will then divide your property as you request and give it to the appropriate beneficiaries.

Revocable trusts can also be beneficial because if established and funded correctly, they do not need to be probated. Another benefit is that the trust can be private and provide for continuous management of assets. For example, if you have a teenager and are concerned that they would squander any money left to them, you can designate how much of the trust will be paid to them each year instead of in a lump sum.

3. Name a Guardian

If you have minor children, then one of the most important steps you can take is to name a guardian for your minor children. We have yet to meet someone who would want the court and Utah law to make this decision for their family.

4. Assemble a Team, and Let Your Family Know About Them

In order to ensure that your wishes are carried out, it is important to have competent legal advice, along with other professional or investment advisors. If you do not have an estate plan, we are happy to help at Hillyard, Anderson & Olsen in Logan, Utah. Also, if you have an estate plan, but it needs to be updated, we can help there too. Please give us a call at (435) 752-2610 to schedule a free consultation.