Utah Probate

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In probate matters, experience counts.

An experienced attorney may be able to save you thousands of dollars and months, or years of time. Probate can be complicated. We Elderly woman getting help from a Utah probate attorneysee many unnecessary and unwise filings by inexperienced lawyers. Our Utah probate attorneys have decades of experience. Jack Helgesen has more than thirty years of experience in complicated probate matters, and Michael Houtz has more than twenty years experience.

FAQs about Utah Probate

1. What is probate?

Probate is the court process of wrapping up the affairs of a person who has died, paying the debts and transferring his or her property to others.

2. When is probate needed?

Probate is needed whenever a person dies owning property in his or her own name which requires a title or court order to transfer it. Under Utah probate law, “property” is broadly defined to include any valuable right, interest, possession or claim. Probate may also be needed for creditors to collect their debts from the person’s estate if the debts are not paid by the family.

3. What kinds of property do not need to be probated?

These categories of property are transferred upon death without the need for probate:

  • Real Estate or securities (stocks, bonds, etc.) held in joint tenancy
  • Jointly owned accounts
  • Accounts with a “payable on death” beneficiary designation
  • Insurance with a beneficiary designated other than the estate of the deceased
  • Property left in Trust with directions to transfer it to another after death
  • Tangible personal property, debts owed to the deceased, stocks, or claims held by a person with a small estate (less than $100,000). These may be collected by an affidavit from or for the person entitled to inherit them. (Utah affidavits may not be enforceable outside the State of Utah.)

4. Is probate required if a person leaves a last will?

Yes. Probate is required whether or not a person has a will if property needs to be transferred, or creditors need a probate to collect debts.

5. When must a probate be filed?

Probate actions must be filed within a Utah District Court within three years after the death of a person. After that time, a will cannot be probated, but Utah courts retain some power to declare heirs and transfer property under the law of intestacy (death without a will).

6. How long will probate take?

If the probate is not contested, it can be finished within a few weeks (or days in special cases). If the probate is challenged by someone who disagrees, it can take much longer.

7. How expensive is the probate process?

That depends on what needs to be done. Mr. Helgesen will meet with you in a free consultation and describe the costs before you hire us. We will keep our fees as low as possible and we will not charge you for unnecessary work.

Come see us today.


Helgesen, Houtz & Jones $$(801) 544-5306