Where to Start Your Estate Plan

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Lear & Lear PLLC Law Offices

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Lear & Lear

Posted on

Jan 31, 2024

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Utah - Utah

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One of the most common questions we’re asked by our estate planning clients is, “Where do we start?” Our answer is, “With your biggest worry.”

Estate planning can be an overwhelming undertaking. But, we have come to know that finding the right jumping off point is half the battle. Calming your greatest fear, planning for your biggest worry is a great jumping off point.


Power to Make Medical Decisions

One common worry is that our clients’ wishes won’t be followed in a medical emergency. When we’re made aware of this, we suggest that they start with a Healthcare Directive. In a Healthcare Directive, you name a medical agent to make medical decisions for you when you are unable. You also memorialize what your wishes are so your medical agent knows what decisions to make. You can name what lifesaving measures you would like to be taken on your behalf. You can declare whether you’d like to be an organ donor or not. You can leave instructions for your funeral.


Knowing that there is a legal document that will become a gameplan in a medical emergency gives our clients a starting point and enables us to alleviate their worry.


Leaving Specific Gifts

Another concern is that our clients won’t be able to leave a specific item or gift to a specific person. Or, relatedly, some clients also that someone that they don’t want to inherit anything will be given some of their estate. When we know this, we recommend a Will or a Trust. In a Will, you can name who you want your beneficiaries to be, which also enables you to disinherit specific individuals. You can do the same in a Trust, and a Trust does not have to be probated to be valid.


Knowing which instruments allow them to select who they want to leave their possessions to gives our clients a strong first step in starting their estate plan, while simultaneously giving peace of mind.


Power to Make Financial Decisions

A final worry we commonly hear is that our clients’ finances won’t be cared for in their absence. When we hear this, we recommend a Power of Attorney. In a Power of Attorney, you name an Attorney-in-Fact to make financial decisions if you are incapacitated or absent. You also enumerate the scope of power that your Attorney-in-Fact is given as well as the assets that they have control over. You can have one Power of Attorney that covers all of your finances, or a series of them for specific properties or accounts.


Knowing the route to take to protect their financial interests is a strong place for our clients’ their estate plan and gives comfort about the future.



We understand how daunting the thought of starting the estate planning process can be. So, tell us your greatest worry, and we’ll work from there.

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Local Services By This Author

Lear & Lear PLLC Law Offices

Estate Planning 780 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102

Welcome to Lear & Lear.Lear & Lear offers comprehensive estate planning services designed to cater to various needs and circumstances, ensuring that clients are well-prepared for their futures. Our services span from creating wills and trusts, updating existing estate plans, drafting powers of attorney and healthcare directives, creating guardianships and conservatorships, and to navigating the complexities of probate.Estate Planning Services:- Lear & Lear emphasizes the importance of creating a tailored estate plan that may include wills, trusts (living, testamentary, revocable, irrevocable, funded, or unfunded), and other estate planning tools. Our approach is to provide peace of mind by ensuring smooth transitions during times of bereavement and incapacity, as well as safeguarding your wishes and assets for the future.  Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives:- Recognizing the critical role of Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives, Lear & Lear assists clients in designating trusted individuals to manage financial and healthcare decisions. These documents are essential for ensuring that your preferences are honored in cases of incapacity, providing a layer of protection and avoiding unnecessary legal complications.Basic Estate Plan Components:- A typical estate plan outlined by Lear & Lear may include a Will, Trust, General Assignment of assets, Financial Power of Attorney, and an Advance Health Care Directive. Each component plays a crucial role in ensuring your assets are managed according to your wishes, providing comprehensive coverage from asset protection to healthcare decisions.Probate and Estate Planning Connection:- Our firm has a clear understanding of the complexities of probate, differentiating between formal and informal probate and the impact of having a will or trust on the probate process. Our expertise extends to facilitating a smoother process or avoiding probate altogether through strategic estate planning, thus saving time, reducing legal fees, and preventing disputes among beneficiaries.Real Estate and Probate Avoidance:- Our firm also addresses the intricacies of real estate within estate planning, offering guidance on ownership types like Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common, and strategies such as Life Estates and Transfer on Death Deeds to bypass probate and ensure direct transfer of property to beneficiaries. This service is particularly valuable for clients looking to streamline the transfer of valuable real estate assets.Role of Probate Attorneys:- For clients navigating the probate process, Lear & Lear outlines the importance of having a skilled probate attorney. We offer comprehensive support as probate attorneys, from valuing assets and filing court documents to managing estate taxes and settling disputes. Our emphasis on empathetic, expert guidance reflects our strong commitment to making the probate process as stress-free as possible for you.For individuals or families looking to secure their future and ensure their wishes are respected, Lear & Lear offers a robust and empathetic approach to estate planning and probate. Our services have been designed to address the legal, financial, and personal aspects of estate planning, ensuring that our clients receive personalized advice and support tailored to their unique circumstances. Our team of attorneys is here to help you make the best possible decisions for you and your loved ones. Reach out to us today by phone at (385) 334-4030, or by email at email@skvlegal.com.