1. Clients gather all information pertaining to their family situation and major assets.
2. Clients make a list of their goals with regards to estate planning.
3. Detailed review and discussion of the client's goals and family situation with attorney.
4. Detailed review by attorney of how each of client's major assets is titled.
The two first steps help the attorney anticipate needs and special concerns. Titling describes how property is owned.
Sole Proprietorship / Sole Ownership
Property is titled in only one name. The entire property is included in the gross estate of the decedent. Governed by will (or by intestacy statute if no will).
Tenancy in Common
Property owned by more than one person. Each owner has a partial but undivided interest in the entire property. Governed by will (or by intestacy statute if no will or property not addressed in will). See U.C.A. §§ 75-2-205(1)(b),(c).
Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS)
Marital property is commonly titled in this manner, although it is not limited to a marital relationship. This type of property, like a trust distribution, passes outside of the will (without need for the probate court to make a determination relating to the property. The decedent's interest in the property is transferred to the other joint tenants as a result of the death of the decedent. Business partners, friends, and family members (other than just spouses) may own property jointly with rights of survivorship. Utah is not a community property state and different rules may apply in other states, particularly community property states (like California).
Tenancy by the Entirety
This is not a type of ownership available in Utah. (U.C.A. §§ 75-2-205(1)(b), 75-2-206(1)). It is similar to joint tenancy with a central difference being that it is only available to a marital couple and each spouse, by entering into this form of ownership, relinquishes the right to convey their ownership interest in the property without spousal consent.
Insurance: Insurance policy proceeds, including life and accident insurance death benefits [U.C.A. §§ 75-1-201(3), 75-2-205(1)(d)].
Retirement Benefits: Death benefits of annuities, pension plans and retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k)s [U.C.A. § 75-1-201(3)].
Bank Accounts: Pay on Death Accounts (POD) [U.C.A. §§ 75-6-10 through 75-6-115].
Brokerage Accounts: Transfer on Death Accounts (TOD) [U.C.A. §§ 75-6-301 through 75-6-313].