Estate Planning Help

Estate Planning Help

If you need immediate help with an estate planning issue involving a will, trust or estate, or would like to contact an estate planning attorney, you’ve come to right place. Because state laws vary considerably and communicating this essential information without vagueness while still complying with local rules can be complicated most people will benefit from the assistance of an attorney in preparing and executing the final documents. However, the better your understanding of the requirements, the easier and more effective your time with an attorney will be. Please select from of the following topics to learn more about getting legal help with an estate planning issue.

Estate Planning Forms and Tools

Examining the standard forms for a basic will, health care power of attorney, living will directive to physicians, designation of surrogate, and other important estate planning forms and checklists can help you better understand the purpose and structure of these legal devices. These tools are meant to be the beginning, rather than the end of a process of structuring the documents that help communicate your wishes to health care providers and courts in situations when you are unavailable to speak due to death or disability.

Materials in this section include an estate planning case intake questionnaire that can help an attorney determine which estate planning tools you need, an estate planning checklist to help ensure that you have considered all aspects of estate planning that are commonly needed, a checklist of action items for an estate executor organizing the actions required for an individual in this role, and sample documents including a basic will, a living will, a health care power of attorney form, and more.

In addition to basic forms and checklist there are articles that provide state-specific forms for advance directives and living wills and an article discussing the advantages of various estate planning tools.

Using an Estate Planning Attorney

Organization and preparation are always helpful if you are planning to meet with an attorney. Since time for a consultation may be limited, or the attorney may charge an hourly rate, the time spent preparing yourself and your paperwork can often translate into a cheaper and more thorough analysis of your needs. To help you prepare there are materials provided here that can help ensure that you present the information an attorney needs to help you plan your estate.

One such tool is an intake questionnaire designed to help organize the information most relevant to estate planning. This form will help you present your attorney with information about the property and family connections that most frequently affect which documents are necessary and how they should be structured. The form also asks questions designed to help you and your attorney determine which kinds of estate planning tools are most appropriate for your needs.

An experienced estate planning attorney will work closely with you to develop a set of estate planning documents that address your concerns in a way that is right for you. They will ensure that your wishes are communicated clearly and with the maximum weight of the law, while also anticipating and avoiding negative tax implications by consulting with expert accounting and tax advisers in some instances. Finally, they prepare and execute all of the necessary documents such as wills, living trusts, testamentary trusts, and powers of attorney.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175038451756

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Avoiding Probate

Avoiding Probate

Probate is a court-supervised process of distributing and overseeing property after a person dies. The purpose of probate is to determine the wishes of the deceased, pay debts, and to distribute the property according to the decedents wishes. The following occurs during probate:

  • Determination of the executor or the appointment of an administrator
  • Authentication of the will
  • Identification and inventory of the decedents property
  • Identification of heirs and beneficiaries
  • Payment of debts and taxes
  • Distribution of property according to a will or according to state law

Many individuals take into consideration avoiding probate in deciding on an estate planning option.

Is avoiding probate possible through probate exemptions?

Yes, in some states the law provides a way of avoiding probate by allowing an exemption or a simplified probate process for small estates only worth a certain amount. In California, for example, small estates worth less than $100,000 escape the probate process. In a few states, probate is eliminated or a simplified probate process applies for property left to the surviving spouse.

If avoiding probate is not an option, who is responsible for managing the probate process?

An executor named in a will or an administrator appointed by a probate court is responsible for overseeing the probate process. A probate judge appoints an administrator if an executor is unnamed in a will or if the decedent died without a will. Usually, the administrator is a relative or the person inheriting the majority of the decedents estate.

The executor or the administrator performs the following duties:

  • Obtains the decedents original will
  • If necessary, hires a probate attorney
  • Initiates and manages the probate process
  • Cancels credit cards
  • Notifies government entities of the decedents death
  • Manages assets

In many situations, the executor oversees probate, while a probate lawyer performs the bulk of the work.

If probate proceedings are unnecessary, the family of the decedent chooses an informal estate representative to pay debts and to distribute the property. Usually the estate representative is a family member or a close friend of the decedent.

What happens during the probate process?

Because probate involves court costs and attorney fees, avoiding probate will save time and money. The probate process usually takes between six months to a year. The executor of the will or a court-appointed administrator will handle probate, and, if necessary, hire a probate attorney. The executor or the administrator is responsible for filing the appropriate paperwork with the probate court after the decedents death.

During probate, the following occurs: the probate court receives a copy of the decedents will, probate assets are identified and inventoried, contact is made with heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, and debts and taxes are paid. The last step in the probate process is the distribution of probate assets. In some situations, the executor may have to sell assets, such as real estate and securities, to pay outstanding debts or to make cash bequests specified by the will.

What are my options for avoiding probate?

If property qualifies for a states exemption or a simplified probate process, probate is inapplicable and it is unnecessary to devise methods to avoid probate. If, on the other hand, an estate will be subject to probate, there are some effective methods of avoiding probate.

  • Revocable Living Trusts:

    Creating a living trust is one of the most popular ways of probate avoidance. The grantor, or the living owner, transfers title to property to a trust. Typically, the grantor of the living trust is also the trustee. The trustee manages the property and retains control over the property until their death. The successor trustee then transfers the property to the beneficiaries named in the trust.

  • Joint Tenancy and Tenancy by the Entirety:

    A joint tenancy allows people to share property equally. When one owner dies, the surviving co-owner automatically inherits the property through the right of survivorship. Tenancy by the entirety is similar to a joint tenancy, but it only applies to married couples, and in a few states, to same-sex couples registered with the state. In a tenancy by the entirety, the owners share interest in property. When one owner dies, the surviving owner automatically receives the entire interest in the property.

  • Naming a Beneficiary:

    The owner of an account can designate a person to inherit it upon their death. While the owner retains control while alive, the property transfers to the named beneficiary upon the owners death. In many states, naming a beneficiary is available for pay-on-death bank accounts, transfer-on-death securities, and in a few states, it is possible to create transfer-on-death deeds for real estate and transfer-on-death vehicle registration.

Free Consultation with Utah Probate Lawyer

When you need a probate lawyer on your side, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/175028664386

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Divorce Case

Here are the top 10 mistakes you absolutely must avoid when you are in a divorce case.

Becoming a Financial Victim

The biggest mistake divorcing spouses can make is being in the dark about finances. If your spouse has always handled all of the financial decisions in your household and you don’t have any information about you and your spouse’s income and assets, your spouse will have an unfair advantage over you when it comes time to settle the financial issues in your divorce.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Divorce Case

If you suspect your spouse is planning a divorce, get as much information as you can now. Make copies of important financial records such as account statements (eg., savings, brokerage, and retirement) and all other data that relates to your marital lifestyle (eg., checking accounts, charge card statements, tax returns).

If you believe your spouse may liquidate (sell or transfer to cash) assets or retitle marital assets without your consent, notify the holder of the asset or property in writing and get a restraining order from the court. Watch out for any cash held in joint checking and brokerage accounts, and the cash value of life insurance policies. If your spouse uses or moves assets without your knowledge, you may have to hire legal and forensic accounting experts to help you locate and value the assets.

Not Considering Mediation

If you and your spouse can work together to reach a fair settlement on most or all of the issues in your divorce (eg., child custody, child support, alimony, and property division), choosing mediation to resolve your divorce case may save thousands of dollars in legal fees and emotional aggravation. The mediation process involves a neutral third-party mediator (an experienced family law attorney trained in mediation) that meets with the divorcing couple and helps them reach an agreement on the issues in their divorce. Mediation is completely voluntary; the mediator will not act as a judge, or insist on any particular outcome or agreement.

Mediation also provides divorcing couples a lot of flexibility, in terms of making their own decisions about what works best for their family, compared with the traditional adversarial legal process, which involves a court trial where a judge makes all the decisions.

Mediation, however, is not appropriate for all couples. For example, if one spouse is hiding assets or income, and refuses to come clean, you may have to head to court where a judge can order your spouse to comply. Or, if one spouse is unwilling to compromise, mediation probably won’t work.

Hiring a Combative Lawyer to Punish Your Spouse

This is a very bad idea for two reasons. First, except in extremely egregious cases, most courts won’t punish your spouse financially for being a bad person.

Second, hiring an attorney to punish your spouse will cost you because your attorney will need to increase the number of hours spent on your case. Increased attorney hours means higher divorce costs, and higher divorce costs means there will be fewer assets and cash left for you and your family. Try to take the emotion out of your divorce, and treat your case as a business arrangement. The best revenge is to live well after the divorce is over.

Failing to Recognize Your Common Enemy – the I.R.S.

Work together with a divorce financial planner or tax accountant to minimize the total taxes you and your spouse will pay during separation and after divorce; you can share the money you save. Don’t forget that both spouses are liable for taxes due as a result of audits on joint returns, so it’s usually in your best interest to work together and minimize possible liabilities. If you’re facing complicated tax issues in your divorce, it’s best to consult with an experienced family law attorney and an accountant.

Not Producing an Accurate Budget

Divorcing spouses usually underestimate living expenses when they produce their initial budget for temporary alimony (also referred to as “maintenance”), and later find that they aren’t able to cover all of their bills. Use a financial professional to help you produce an accurate and complete budget.

Disregarding the Impact of Taxes in a Divorce Settlement

It’s important to remember that after the divorce is final, you may get taxed on the marital assets you received through your settlement. Say your spouse handles all the investments and offers to split them 50/50. Sounds good, right? The only way to know if you’re getting a fair deal is to determine the value of the investments on an after-tax basis, then decide if you like the deal. Again, you should speak with a tax professional about the impact of any proposed property divisionbefore you agree to it.

Failure to Evaluate Settlement Proposals

If you’re trying to decide whether your spouse’s proposed divorce settlement is fair and workable, you should try to figure out how the settlement will impact your finances in the years ahead. There are many factors to consider, including assets, incomes, living expenses, inflation, alimony, child support, taxes, retirement plans, investments, medical expenses and health insurance costs, and child-related expenses such as education.

There are specialized divorce computer models that produce comprehensive and realistic analyses of your post-divorce lifestyle. You should speak with a local divorce attorney or financial planner that specializes in divorce for help analyzing any proposed financial settlement.

Being Emotionally Attached to Assets in Divorce Negotiations

The marital residence, the pension you earned, a painting purchased during your marriage – these assets often bring an emotionally charged debate to divorce negotiations, which can impair good decision-making. Often, divorcing spouses that are attached to the family home don’t realize that they can’t really afford. Yet, they fight tooth and nail to keep it, sometimes at the expense of retirement planning.

However, the real estate market crash has made it abundantly clear that homes have a very low return on investment and, in some cases, have a negative return; many houses today are still underwater, and couples have had to walk away from their homes and the hard-earned money they invested.

In addition, a home is a major cash expense (eg., mortgage payments, property taxes, repairs, and utilities). Let go of any emotional attachments you may have. During your divorce and settlement negotiations, your main focus should always be on how to maximize your finances by making sure you’ll have enough cash for living expenses after your divorce and in retirement.

Over-using Your Divorce Lawyer

Divorce attorneys generally charge $200- $300 per hour, and partners in well-known New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco family law firms typically charge $450 per hour. These attorneys can provide advice on divorce-related issues, but they are not therapists or certified financial planners. If you need to talk through the emotional aspects of your divorce, or need career counseling or financial analysis, save money on additional attorney’s fees and be sure to talk to the right professionals, such as a licensed therapist, vocational expert, or a financial planner.

Beware of Settlement Offers That Look Too Good

Both spouses and children must make compromises in their life styles post-divorce. A settlement that does not give one spouse enough money to live on is likely to go into default in the future. Be fair, but verify the numbers. Get payments up front whenever possible, even if you get less in total. Try to secure all payments with assets and insurance. It may be worth speaking to a family law attorney who can review a settlement offer and make sure your rights are fully protected.

Disregarding the Long Term Impact of Inflation

The effects of inflation on the cost of a child’s college education, or on retirement, 15 years in the future can be dramatic. The “Rule of 72” is a simple way to judge the impact of inflation. For example, if the inflation rate is 3%, the “Rule of 72” means that prices will double in 24 years (72/3=24). College costs at 5% inflation will double in 14.4 years (72/5=14.4). Be sure to work inflation into your settlement negotiations so you can cover the true costs of future financial expenses.

Failing to Consider Your Spouse’s Eligibility for Social Security Benefits

If a couple is married for 10 years or longer, a non-working or lower-earning spouse is entitled to derivative social security benefits on the higher earning spouse’s (“worker spouse”) record. These derivative benefits do not impact or lower the worker spouse’s social security payments, which is why it’s so ironic that the average length of marriage for people who get divorced is about nine and a half years. Waiting just another six months may guarantee increased retirement options with no reduction in payments.

Forgetting to Update Estate Documents

After divorce, many people forget to change the beneficiaries on their life insurance policies, IRAs, and will(s), so the estates they wanted to leave to their children, new partner, or favorite charity may go instead to their ex-spouse. If you’re going through a divorce, talk to a family law attorney to find out what changes you can make to your estate plan during and/or post-divorce.

Failure to Adequately Insure the Divorce Settlement

Your ex-spouse’s premature death or disability can be devastating and may result in a loss of alimony, child support, college tuition, or property settlement payments. Life and disability insurance policies can guarantee that these payments will continue despite an unexpected loss or injury.

Failure to Develop a Post-Divorce Financial Plan

One indisputable fact of divorce is that two households cost more to operate than one. Many divorcing spouses fail to realize that their divorce settlement must last a significant amount of time: perhaps even the rest of their lives. Financial planning can help people transition from a married to single lifestyle by prioritizing financial goals, developing realistic expectations, and producing sound plans for the assignment and division of financial resources.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Revocable Living Trusts

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably spent more time planning your next vacation than deciding how to transfer your estate. But without proper estate planning, much of what you worked for during your lifetime could be distributed to unintended beneficiaries or lost to unnecessary complications.

Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool that lets you control how your property is handled during your life and after death. It also helps avoid probate and transfers your property quickly and privately.

The trust is a legal document that partially replaces a will. You transfer assets, such as your house, bank accounts, or stocks, into the trust’s name. A trustee, usually you or someone you have confidence in, manages the property for the benefit of you or your family. It’s called a living trust because it’s created when you are alive. And since it’s revocable, you can change or cancel the trust at any time before your death.

Benefits and Limitations of a Living Trusts

Creating a trust is a personal decision based on your own unique circumstances. A living trust has many benefits, but it may not do everything you need. Let’s look at what a revocable living trust can and can’t do for you:

Benefits of a Living Trust

  • Provide for You During Incapacity: A properly executed living trust can take care of you if you become unable to care for yourself. This avoids the delay or a court-ordered guardianship. This feature highlights the importance of adequately funding your trust when its set up. Be sure to name an alternate trustee to manage the trust if you become unable to care for yourself.
  • Avoid Probate: Probate is a legal process that transfers property after a person’s death. By transferring legal title to the trust, the property is no longer part of your estate. It’s already been transferred.
  • Protect Privacy: There’s typically no public record required, unlike with a will. Be aware, if property is placed in the trust after your death, then there may appear in a public record.
  • Greater Control: If you want to leave assets to a child or someone who may have trouble managing money, a living trust gives you control over the manner and timing of payments. For example, you can leave money to your 12-year-old grand-daughter to pay for college or to help with a down-payment on her first house.
  • Easy to Create and Change: For most simple estates, a living trust has fewer legal formalities than a will, making it easier to create and change. Each state controls the rules for living trusts, so research your local trust laws.
  • Hold Property from Other States: If you own property in other states, a living trust will protect your heirs from needing to administer out-of-state probate procedures.

Limitations of a Living Trust

  • Immediate Tax Benefit: Since you retain the right to use and enjoy the property, in the eyes of tax authorities, it remains your taxable property. If you receive income from the trust, you must report the income on your tax return.
  • Cost Savings: Revocable Living trusts can be expensive to set up, plus there are annual maintenance fees. There may be some cost savings by eliminating probate costs and other incidental fees.
  • No Creditor Protection: You create a trust to keep control over the distribution of your property. Although some trusts can protect your assets from creditors, a revocable living trust cannot. Since this is a revocable trust, you can terminate it at will. So a creditor can force the termination to get the assets.

Start on Your Living Trust Now

In some circumstances, it may be possible for you draft a revocable trust on your own. Make a document stating the trust is created to hold property for the benefit of yourself or someone you specify. You can name yourself as the trustee, but be sure to select an alternate trustee.

Next, list the assets being placed in the trust. Remember, the trust becomes the owner of the property you transfer. That’s why you must change the name on the title to that of the trust. Rest assured, you keep the right to manage your property in a living trust, even if you’re not the trustee. You have the right to change the terms of the trust, remove the trustee, or the property, at any time.

When you’re finished writing your trust, sign it and have it notarized. You can fund your trust using a deed or standard transfer document to transfer the property into the trustee’s name, per the trust’s terms. It’s important to understand the laws in your state to properly form and fund your trust. Errors can make your trust invalid and without any legal effect. If you have any concerns, consult with a lawyer or other estate planning professional.

Free Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are here, you may need help with an estate plan. If so, please call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/174995211636

Divorce with Debts

Everyone seems to understand that divorce involves the division of marital property and assets.

However, over the years, I have found that many people fail to fully appreciate that divorce involves the division of debt, as well.

Divorce with Debts

Ironically, debt is typically cited as one of the top reasons couples split up. But, getting divorced doesn’t make those troublesome debt problems “magically” disappear. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Just as debt can often play a major role in the failure of a marriage, it can also play a major role in adding stress and contention to divorce proceedings.

What can you do minimize nasty debt headaches during your divorce? My best advice is to be prepared. Educate yourself about debt, in a broad sense. Then, gather all the relevant data about your specific case.  You’ll want to collect credit card bills, information from your mortgage/home equity/auto loan accounts, etc. and learn all you can about what you and your spouse owe.

In addition, here are a few tips to help you better understand how to handle dividing debt in your divorce:

  1. Where you live impacts how debt will be divided.Divorce laws differ from state to state, and how your debt will be divided depends largely on where you live and whether you live in a Community Property State or an Equitable Distribution State.

There are nine Community Property States: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Couples living in Alaska can “opt in” for community property, and Puerto Rico is a community property jurisdiction.

The remaining 41 states are known as Equitable Distribution States (or Common Law States). Utah is one of these. In Utah, the court will try to either split the debt in half or perhaps do some creative offsets; but most of the time, if the debt was for and in behalf of the “marital estate”; then, the debt will be divided by both parties.

(An earlier post discusses the differences between Community Property States and Equitable Distribution States in more detail.)

In general terms, if you live in an Equitable Distribution State, debt that’s incurred during a marriage is the joint responsibility of both parties, provided both parties are co-signers on the account (mortgage, credit card, etc.). In other words, if your husband opened a credit card account in his name only, then only he is responsible for that debt.

In Community Property States, both spouses are responsible, even if only one incurred the debt.

Of course, once you and your husband have separated, the rules change. Any debt incurred after you separate is the sole responsibility of the person who made the charges. The wrinkle here is that “the moment of separation” varies from state to state. In some states, you need to legally declare a separation. In others, a legal separation is not required; you’re separated once you start living apart.

  1. It’s often best to eliminate shared debt.Our firmusually advises women to eliminate shared debt before the divorce is final. Naturally, that may mean you need to use marital assets to jointly pay off what you owe –but, usually that’s a worthwhile step, if it means you can begin your single life with a fresh start. Alternatively, some couples decide to divide and transfer their debts, so that each person is individually responsible only for his or her portion.

Either way, the goal is to separate your finances (and any remaining debt) from your husband’s finances (and any of his remaining debt).  As a result, you’ll remove your liability for what he owes.

If possible, you’ll also want to close joint credit cards and eliminate your husband as an authorized used on any credit cards in your name. Remember: Credit card companies and other third party agents are notbound by divorce agreements.  It may sound harsh, but if your names are both on a credit card account, the credit card company can hold you responsible if your ex rings up a balance and then decides not to pay.

One word of caution here:  New federal regulations are making it harder than ever for women with little or no income to establish credit on their own. You’ll need to proceed with caution as you set out to establish credit in your own name … Which brings up my third point …

  1. Protect your credit.Once you have: a) established control of your own debt and b) separated your liability from your husband’s debt, it’s time to turn the page and begin a new chapter. You’ll need to establish credit in your own name –and then, once that credit is established, you’ll need to work hard to protect it. Start slowly and proceed with caution, keeping a careful watch on credit card balances, debit and ATM cards, etc.

A good first step should be to create a budget that will allow you to maintain your lifestyle, pay off any remaining debt and increase your savings. A divorce financial planner can help you determine how to manage your assets and which adjustments are necessary for continued financial stability.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fhelp you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/174971909271

Getting Guardianship of Your Aging Parent

You should begin gathering documents right from the first moment you consider taking on the role of a guardian. Guardianship is necessarily a very document and detail-heavy endeavor, because you are taking legal responsibility for the welfare of another human being. Guardians work very closely with the courts in their county or state, and documents are crucial to create a record of the guardianship.

Getting Guardianship of Your Aging Parent

Preserving All Guardianship Documents

Whether you’re the guardian of an elderly relative, a child, or someone otherwise unable to make their own legal decisions, you are responsible for the management and safety of that person’s assets. As such, you need to gather every document relevant to the management of these assets. Think about your duties and which documents may contain information pertaining to each duty, such as:

  • Documents about medical care or treatment, particularly invoices and insurance information
  • Receipts reflecting the purchase of necessities such as food, clothes, cars, household items, and other personal items
  • Invoices showing educational costs
  • Investment and financial statements
  • Banking statements and check ledgers
  • Legal documents pertaining to your guardianship and to any lawsuits the ward may be party to
  • Wills, trusts, or any other documents regarding any inherited assets of the ward
  • Documents showing ownership and valuation of property held by the guardianship estate
  • Previous guardianship inventories, accountings, and appraisals prepared for the court

Utah Guardianship Laws

A legal guardian must follow the applicable guardianship laws of the state, which are typically found in the state’s probate code. You have many options for assistance. First, the National Guardianship Association is a good resource, especially if you and your intended ward reside in different states. If you reside in the same state, you can begin by contacting the local family court of your county and consulting with the court clerk. The clerk can provide you with some preliminary information and guide you to the appropriate court, depending upon the nature of your guardianship. For example, in California if you are the guardian of a minor you may be subject to both the rules of the Probate Court and the Juvenile Court.

Many states have created their own guardianship assistance division, such as New York’s Guardian Assistance Network, the Guardianship Association of New Jersey, and the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. In Utah, guardian training is provided online and you must pass the Utah Guardian Pre-appointment Test before you can apply to be a guardian.  You should make sure you speak with a Guardianship lawyer or probate attorney to help you.

You can refer to the probate code of your state, but an attorney with experience in guardianships will be best able to assist you in clearly understanding your legal responsibilities and their proper execution.

Making a Checklist of Documents

You may find the checklist below helpful in creating your own personal document checklist.

_____Power of Attorney

_____Living Will

_____Guardianship Papers

_____Trust Documents

_____Deeds

_____Land Grants

_____Water Rights

_____Mortgages

_____Leases

_____Bonds

_____Loans

_____Contracts

_____Tax Notices

_____Abstracts of Title

_____Vehicle Titles

_____Bank Statements

_____Pass Books

_____Checkbook Registers

_____Mutual Fund Statements

_____IRA Statements

_____Stock Certificates

_____Canceled Checks

_____Bills

_____Receipts

_____Check Stubs

_____Social Security Documents

_____Retirement Papers

_____Pension Documents

_____Income Tax Returns

_____Will

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a legal matter, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/174962383426

West Jordan Lawyer

West Jordan Lawyer

Driverless cars, the pinnacle of automotive innovation and the potential future of safe driving, have recently proven to be anything but: according to a study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor, auto accident rates are twice as high for driverless cars as they are for your average error-prone human driver.

With rates like that, any self-driving car owner can expect to pay a number of visits to her lawyer, if the car doesn’t crash itself along the way.

SHOULD DRIVERLESS CARS OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS WITHOUT EXCEPTION?

What’s causing this auto accident discrepancy? After all, anyone would think human drivers in the kind of rush-hour traffic that backs up miles outside West Jordan, Utah would have a harder time navigating the highway than a cool, calculating robot.

The catch? Self-driving cars are programmed to obey all traffic laws, regardless of the situation. So whether it’s merging onto high-speed traffic on the highway or rolling into a four-way intersection in Farmington, a self-driving car makes no concessions.

Human drivers, meanwhile, bend the rules of traffic law with abandon. Most drivers are guilty of rolling through the occasional stop sign, speeding through that yellow light or driving “with the flow of traffic” on the highway—even if traffic’s running 15 over the speed limit.

Lawyer in Utah

As West Jordan Utah attorneys, we practice in several areas of law including divorce, real estate, bankruptcy, business law, child custody, child support, adoption law and other areas.

In the interest of preventing an auto accident and a subsequent trip to the local personal injury lawyer, should self-driving cars bend to the will of human error?

It’s a sticky situation, to be sure. If Google programs its cars to disobey traffic laws, the next question is: how much? If self-driving cars start deliberately breaking the law, the search engine giant will be sure to face an onslaught of government and lawyer inquiries.

In the meantime, Google is working to program its cars to be more “aggressive” while still adhering to all traffic laws. Driving is a complex social practice, whether you’re driving on the interstate or around the shops of downtown West Jordan.

For driverless cars, the game is still very much a human one, law breaking and all.

NEW BILL PASSES REMOVING ALL PROTECTIONS AGAINST CONTAMINATED WATER

In order to survive, it’s widely assumed that food, shelter, clothing and water are needed. Regardless of whether you’re currently taking up residence in West Jordan, Utah or another location in our beautiful home state, more than likely, the basic necessities of life aren’t hard to come by. That being said, even with fresh running water being made readily available to most Americans, water contamination still occurs.

For example, in the United States, coal is often burned to produce enough electricity to keep cities up and running. However, when such a practice takes place, ash is produced as waste. Said ash, unfortunately, can potentially makes its way as a toxic substance into precious municipal water sources, causing incidents of wrongful death to come about. In such a situation, a lawyer might very well be needed.

Recently, as a way of addressing such terrible happenings, the Federal Government inefficiently took action and passed a bill that eliminates many of the actual laws that regulate the containment and monitoring of coal ash. Furthermore, the approved bill also gives states the responsibility of overseeing the processes of coal ash maintenance and disposal. Even worse, the bill mentions nothing of how close coal ash containment locations can be to public water sources.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Imputed Income for Child Support in Utah

The law is clear that parents have an ongoing obligation to financially support their minor children. Although most parents have no problem with this duty of support, some parents resist what they consider to be excessive child support orders and may intentionally reduce income to lower their support payments.

Imputed Income for Child Support in Utah

The law has specific rules for situations where paying parents reduce their earnings without good cause. In Utah, the courts may add back into the child support calculation the income that the paying parent claims to have lost. This concept is known as “imputing income.”

This article addresses how Utah courts impute income when the paying parent is falsely lowering her or his earnings. If you have questions after reading this article, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

Establishing a Child Support Order

Utah law states specifically that children are entitled to share in the current incomes of both parents. State law uses a formula to determine how much child support should be paid by one parent to the other parent. For more detailed information about the child support law in Utah.

The Meaning of Imputed Income

If a judge rules that the parent who is responsible for paying child support (the paying parent) has intentionally lowered his or her earnings, the court can attribute additional income toward the paying parent in order to establish a fair child support order – one that will provide sufficient financial support to the child. This is called “imputing income.”

Courts won’t impute income when there is good cause for a reduction in support. However, when judges find that a parent has voluntarily reduced income, then the paying parent will likely be ordered to pay support based on his or her earning capacity.

Voluntary Unemployment

Some parents may think their child support payment is too high or feel that they should not have to pay any child support at all. They may try to find ways to avoid their obligation to their children. Some paying parents may decide to quit a job, refuse to find replacement work, and then ask the court to reduce their child support payment. In Utah, if a court determines that the paying parent lost a job deliberately, he or she will be considered voluntarily unemployed, and the judge will not reduce the child support order.

Voluntary Underemployment

The term “underemployment” means that the paying parent has intentionally taken a lower paying job or hides income to lessen the child support order. In other words, the paying parent is working below his or her full earning potential.

A paying parent may be underemployed when he or she is no longer working in an occupation for which she or he has been trained and is working at a lower paying job. For example, a registered nurse may decide to leave a lucrative hospital job and take a minimum wage job in a daycare. The court could rule that the nurse is underemployed and should be earning more money.

The paying parent doesn’t necessarily have to be deliberate in trying to lose or lower income. Utah law holds that if the paying parent’s loss of earnings is due to neglect, income can be imputed.

A court could also find a paying parent to be underemployed if the paying parent defers taking sales commissions or bonuses. For example, right before a scheduled child support hearing, the paying parent defers taking a year-end bonus by asking his or her employer to pay the bonus at a later time. The intention is to keep the bonus hidden, so it’s not used to calculate child support. If it’s proven that this was the paying parent’s ploy, the judge may impute or add the bonus back into the calculation.

How Courts Calculate Imputed Income

In child support cases, Utah law requires that both parents provide their most recent income tax returns and written proof of their current and past earnings. The judge has this information available for reference to see what the paying parent was earning in the past and base child support on that amount, rather than the artificially reduced amount of income.

When the paying parent has no significant work history or fails to provide his or her income history, the judge may refer to the most recently published Utah Occupational Employment Wage Survey. The judge will draw on this information to establish what the paying parent’s imputed income should be.

Utah law has special statutes that focus on business owners who may try to use the business to hide income. If the business owner is lending the business money to minimize his or her earnings, the loan interest should be at the going market rate. Otherwise, the loan amount could be counted as income for child support calculation purposes.

When Imputing Income is not Allowed

There are some cases where courts are prohibited from imputing income. If the paying parent becomes physically or mentally disabled or has had employment losses due to Hurricanes Katrina or Rita, the court cannot find that the paying parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

In addition if one parent is caring for the parties’ child who is under five years of age, the court will not attribute income to that parent.

Free Consultation with a Child Support Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about child support or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Divorce Attorney Salt Lake City https://divorceattorney1.tumblr.com/post/174932329971

Can Bankruptcy Help Creditors?

Yes. In some situations, not in all situations.

Can Bankruptcy Help Creditors

The appointment of a receiver over a borrower’s assets is a powerful tool for the secured creditor when included as a default provision in a well-crafted loan document. Pursuant to Utah law, a receiver “protects and preserves the property” serving as the creditor’s collateral. The law effectively gives the receiver control over the debtor’s property and allows the secured creditor, which sought the appointment, to obtain information regarding the day-to-day usage of its collateral and ensures that payment of net cash flow from the property will be paid to the lender.

Often the borrower will seek to regain control of its business by filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. The Bankruptcy Code sets forth certain duties and rights for the receiver as a custodian of the debtor’s property once the bankruptcy petition is filed. The Code also creates a procedure for the bankruptcy court to determine whether the receiver should turn over the property to the debtor or continue in “possession, custody or control of the property.”

WHEN A DEBTOR TURNS TO BANKRUPTCY, A SECURED CREDITOR CAN USE THE BANKRUPTCY CODE AND MAY GET RELIEF

The Bankruptcy Code makes it clear that once a receiver learns of the bankruptcy case, the receiver is obligated to stop administering the debtor’s property, except to the extent necessary to preserve that property.1Thus, once the bankruptcy petition is filed, the receiver generally has an affirmative duty to return control of the business to the defaulting debtor.

Despite this general requirement mandating the receiver turn over the property to the debtor, the secured creditor may file a motion to allow the receiver to maintain control over the property serving as its collateral. This motion is typically styled as a Motion for Excusal of Turnover by the Receiver.

After reviewing the Motion for Excusal of Turnover by the Receiver and, perhaps, taking evidence, the bankruptcy court will decide whether the interests of the creditors will be better served by leaving the receiver in possession and control of the debtor’s property. In addition, in the rare case in which the debtor is solvent, the bankruptcy court will consider whether the interests of the owners would be better served by permitting the receiver to remain in place.

Therefore, if the creditor is successful in getting a receiver appointed, but the borrower files bankruptcy and tries to regain control of the business and the collateral, the Bankruptcy Code provides a legal basis for the creditor to take prompt action in order to maintain the receiver’s control of the collateral. With this in mind, the Motion for Excusal of Turnover by the Receiver should be filed as quickly as possible after the bankruptcy petition is filed setting forth the reasons the creditors will be better served by the receiver’s continued possession and control of the debtor’s property serving as the collateral.

Our firm has been successful, recently, on several occasions in obtaining these orders protecting the rights and property of lenders in bankruptcy cases. These actions helped provide the lenders with a more positive outcome to the entire bankruptcy case.

Free Consultation with Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have many years of experience in bankruptcy law. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Move Out of the Family House?

Move Out of the Family House

If you’re going through a divorce in Utah, you may be wondering whether you should move out of the family home before, or during, your divorce case. The answer is it depends. Generally speaking, if child custody, parenting time, or the division of property (including the family home) will be contested issues in the divorce proceeding, you might want to think twice before moving out.

Will Moving Out of the Family Home Impact my Divorce?

The reality is that legal “precedent” (meaning an example or a guide, which will be considered later by a judge) is set when one spouse moves out. If one spouse has already moved out, and the new living arrangements seem to be working fine, Judges may not want to disrupt the status quo. The spouse that stayed in the house with the kids may argue that another move would cause too much disruption for the children, so things should just stay as they are, with the spouse who already moved out, staying out.

These arguments don’t always carry the day, but judges will often consider them. If custody is an issue or you really want to keep the house, try to stay put until the “temporary relief hearing,” which is your first opportunity to get in front of a judge and explain why you should stay.

If you need to move out of the home immediately because of an abusive or otherwise unlivable situation for you, or the children, consider the following:

If you’re being abused, get help.

Domestic violence is a serious problem. If you, or your children, are being abused, you should get help immediately. Contact the local police department and/or an attorney that can advise you of your rights. Most police departments have units dedicated to assisting victims of abuse, and domestic violence charges often have a major impact on divorce cases. You should be fully informed on how to protect yourself and your children.

If custody is an issue, be careful.

If you move out and leave the children with your spouse, you’re implying (by your actions) that the other parent can provide a safe home for your children.

If you want to take the children with you, but your spouse won’t agree to it, you must go to court and get permission from a judge before you do so, or you may be charged with kidnapping.

If you do move out without the kids, make sure that you continue to spend significant amounts of time with them so you don’t risk limiting your parenting time later. If you fail to keep continuing contact with your children, your spouse may try to argue that you abandoned the children and therefore, lost the right to spend time with them.

If you take any property with you, be sure to inventory it.

Take videos or still photos of everything you take with you. It’s fine to take your own personal property, clothing, and jewelry, but be careful about taking jointly-owned property, or anything that will disrupt the household, such as appliances, electronics, or furniture.

If you leave without much, make an inventory of everything in the house before you go. In addition to photos and/or videos, create a list of items, with their locations and your best estimate of current values.

Later on, if you and your spouse get into a dispute about marital property, your photos and lists may serve as evidence of what existed at the time of separation. Organizing the information about your property in this manner can also help make the division easier.

Finally, you may want to let your spouse know about your inventory of property. This should discourage your spouse from “misplacing” any important items.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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