Real Estate Lawyer Lindon Utah

Real Estate Lawyer Lindon Utah

The Fifth Amendment states that private property can only be taken for a “public use.” If the government or other condemnors may take private property only for valid public uses, how do we determine if the taking is for a public or private use? The “public use” doctrine can be described as an “essentially contested concept.” This suggests that its meaning has been subject to debate over time. Various courts and legislatures have defined “public use” either from a narrow or a broad perspective. A narrow reading of “public use” indicates “used by the public.” Under this definition, uses such as for bridges, highways, and schools qualify as valid public uses because the public, or at least some segment of it, can actually physically use the property. Critical here is that more than one person benefits and uses the property.

A second, broader definition of “public use” equates the meaning to include the “public advantage,” “promoting the public welfare,” the “public good,” and “public necessity.” Here it is not essential that the public actually use the property so long as they benefit from the taking in some way. Again, more than one person must benefit from use of eminent domain. This meaning suggests that almost any project can be construed as a public use, as long as it is shown that it furthers economic development, public welfare, or a better use of local resources. If your property is being taken away by the state or city for public use, contact an experienced Lindon Utah real estate lawyer.

What is critical to any conception of seeking to determine what constitutes a valid public use is what the term does not permit. The Takings clause does not permit employment of eminent domain for a private use. Efforts to distinguish between a public use and a private benefit have produced various tests. They range, as noted above, from insisting that the public have a right to use the property taken, or that everyone must benefit from the project for the condemnation to be considered valid, to a private acquisition being one where the private benefits are primary and not secondary to the public benefits.

Despite these tests, it remains difficult to differentiate between a public and a private use for a few reasons.

The most important factor affecting the meaning of public use is that local customs and conditions have significantly influenced the meaning in both the United States and individual state constitutions. Irrigation of private property in a dry climate, given local weather conditions, the state of the economy, and patterns of land ownership may be considered a valid public use in one community; such irrigation in a wet climate may not be considered a valid public use, but may instead be seen as simply favoring a private interest. Legislatures are clearly influenced by local conditions when determining eminent domain policy, and local courts pay great respect to local determinations of public use. The law on what constituted a valid “public use” was constructed from the bottom up, with local jurisdictions basing determinations upon local conditions and needs.

The government has broad authority to take private property valid public use so long as just compensation is paid to the owner. The question of why a specific piece of property should be acquired is a question about planning. It is about whether there is an alternative way to accomplish the same project without taking a specific piece of land or property. One of the ugly legacies of the 1950s and 1960s was that many highways and economic redevelopment projects appeared to target low-income neighborhoods and communities populated by people of color. These projects often split neighborhoods in two, relocated scores of individuals, or otherwise devised plans that either seemed blind to the impact it was having upon these populations or, even worse, were purposely directed toward them. In either case, asking why a specific piece of property needed to be taken raises some questions about the planning process, the potential political motives, and perhaps a host of other issues and that questioned the reasoning for the taking.

what legal process must be followed for the government to take property? Clearly it is the case, first, that not just anyone can use eminent domain to take property. In most cases, a private person who tries to take the property of someone else would be committing theft or stealing. Thus, the person taking the property, a condemnor, must be legally empowered to use eminent domain. In most cases, the condemnor is the government. This could be the federal government, or it could be a state or local government such as a city. But a government condemnor could also be its agent. It might be a department of transportation, or perhaps a parks department. In addition, the condemnor could also be an economic development agency of a state or local government. It could also be an airport, or any of a score of other governmental or quasi-governmental units giving the power of eminent domain. While states have inherent authority to condemn, these other units of government do not have the authority to use eminent domain unless given authority by a state government. This means that, lacking statutory authorization, a city or town cannot take property.

But the government is not the only possible condemnor. Governments can also designate private corporations or individuals to be condemnors. In many situations, governments have given eminent-domain authority to public utilities, such as power companies, so that they can build transmission lines for electricity or gas. Railroads, as noted earlier, have been given the power of eminent domain, as have telecommunications companies. All of them have been given this authority so that they can provide functions or services that elected officials have decided are in the public good to provide. However, in some cases, governments may even give eminent-domain authority to private individuals for the same reasons that it may be given to a corporation. Thus, while a condemnor is usually a governmental entity, it need not always be so.

Imagine that a condemnor wants to use eminent domain to acquire property. In particular, imagine that someone wants to condemn or take your home or business with eminent domain. If that were to occur, what must the government (or any condemnor) do in order to take your property? Contrary to what many might think, the decision to take property is not a big surprise to most owners and the process is not usually arbitrary. Instead, several steps must usually be followed or complied with before the government can actually take title to property.

Roughly, there are three basic processes for using eminent domain. The most basic is when the government actually uses eminent domain to take private property. The second invokes what are called “quick-take laws” to expedite the taking process. Quick-take laws allow for property to be condemned even if all the issues surrounding the taking, such as the price for the property, have not been resolved. The third is when an owner either alleges a regulatory taking or when the government has allegedly taken property and the owner sues to seek compensation. This is called an inverse condemnation action.

Normal Taking

The first and most basic process is when the government intends to acquire specific property for the purposes of some project, such as the building of a highway or perhaps a new shopping center. This type of condemnation project will be referred to as a “normal taking.” A normal taking just does not occur out of nowhere. It is rare that the government just decides at the spur of the moment and without notice to use its eminent-domain power to acquire property for the purposes of building a road or a shopping center. While it is possible that in a real emergency, such as a natural disaster, eminent domain might be deployed rather suddenly, this would definitely be a rare exception to what happens with a normal taking. In most emergency situations, the law already allows the government to enter or seize property and that is not considered an act of eminent domain. For example, if one’s house caught on fire and firefighters entered the property to extinguish the blaze, owners could not sue for trespass or claim that a taking had occurred.

Moreover, if in nonemergency situations the government did act without notice to the owner to take property, that would be a violation of the law and the owner would have sufficient remedies and defenses to challenge such an action. In brief, the way the government acted here probably would have violated the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment .While many might think that the decision to take property is a sudden or perhaps an unexpected or quick decision, the reality is that, by the time the government has decided to use eminent domain to acquire property, numerous actions have already taken place. The actual use of eminent domain is generally a last resort or last step in a process the government uses when it wishes to undertake a public project.

In the case of a normal taking, there are several steps in the condemnation process:

• Government develops a comprehensive plan for development

• Public hearings held on the comprehensive plan

• Specific plan for development is created

• Hearings on the specific plan is held

• Properties needed for the project are identified

• Properties are appraised

• Condemnor/developer begin efforts with property owners to purchase property

• Relocation assistance for tenants, owners

• If owners sell, then condemnors take title of property

• Government passes resolution/hearing to initiate condemnation process

• Hearing held on public use and condemnation resolution

• Owner notified of intent to condemn and served with papers

• Court hearing for condemnation scheduled

• Pretrial motions, hearings scheduled

• Court hearing and trial

• Court judgment

• Appeals, if any

• Enforcement of judgment

• Government takes title

Generally, the first step in any condemnation process takes place years earlier, before the government actually moves to acquire a piece of property, at the planning stage. There are two types of plans that a government might undertake as part of planning a project. The first is a comprehensive plan, and the second is a plan for a specific project. A comprehensive plan is the most basic type of plan that a government can create when it comes to land use within its borders. Many states have laws that comprehensive plans have to be developed and rewritten every so many years, such as once per decade following the census. A comprehensive plan first performs a survey of how property is currently used in an area. It examines, among other things, the current zoning code, for example. It compares how all the parcels of land in a city are zoned to how they are actually used.

Another task of a comprehensive plan is to look at the current demographics of a community. These demographics include information we would want to know about the ages, size of families, birth and death rates, and immigration and emigration patterns. This information is useful in terms of trying to know if the population is increasing or decreasing, where people are moving to, and how living patterns may be changing.

Yet another task of a comprehensive plan is to understand the current state of business in a community—what types of business, commerce, and so on, is taking place. Again, it is useful to inventory this information so that one can learn something about the services available in an area, asking if the community has sufficient grocery stores or other services it may need or want. Finally, the comprehensive plan might also look at other issues such as roads and highways, mass transit and transportation routes, the quality and availability of local government services, health care needs and delivery, the tax base, crime, and perhaps a host of other factors. In a nutshell, the comprehensive plan seeks to take a picture of a community in an effort to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

If your property has been included in a comprehensive plan, consult an experienced Lindon Utah real estate lawyer. It is important that you make your objections heard.

Lindon Utah Real Estate Attorney

When you need help with real estate law in Lindon Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We do evictions, foreclosures, quiet titles, easements, boundary distupes, and all types of real estate law. 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


How Much Does It Cost To Stop Foreclosure?

How Much Does It Cost To Stop Foreclosure

One of the considerations in deciding whether or not you should hire a lawyer to help you fight your foreclosure is the cost. It’s important to understand how legal fees work to make sure that you don’t end up paying more than you can afford.

Foreclosure Defense

Most foreclosure defense attorneys structure their fee agreements with homeowners in one of three ways:
• by charging the homeowner an hourly rate
• collecting a flat fee from the homeowner, or
• Charging a monthly rate.

Fees and Costs

Defaulting homeowners usually are charged late fees on every missed mortgage payment right up until their home’s foreclosure sale. Depending on the size of the mortgage loan, accumulated late fees for missed payments can add hundreds of dollars to a borrower’s mortgage bill. While properties in default move toward foreclosure, lenders may add charges for default-related services. During the foreclosure period, lenders’ attorney fees, property title searches, and costs for serving homeowners with foreclosure notices also accumulate.

What Factors cause Foreclosure Costs to Vary?

How much a lawyer charges will certainly be a factor in the cost of a foreclosure? However, there are many other considerations ultimately determine how expensive the process will be. Below is a general lay out of the costs typically associated with home foreclosure.

• Type of Foreclosure – The cost of a foreclosure can vary largely on whether the mortgage loan has just recently fallen into default and the homeowners are willing to surrender the property, or if they are going to attempt to reinstate the home loan or otherwise defend against the foreclosure process.

• Costs – It is not uncommon for a loan servicer to assess additional charges against a borrower in default. Default-related fees include:

o Property inspection and preservation costs

o Foreclosure costs and fees, including: Filing fees notice and certified mailing costs, where a loan is reinstated, and potentially the lender’s attorney’s fees.

o Corporate advances

• Attorney’s Fees – Generally, each party will be responsible for their own costs. However, there are some instances where the lender may seek to have the borrower pay for a portion or all of their foreclosure fees. Moreover, these fees may vary depending on how complicated the defense will be and how long the foreclosure will take.

What Goes into Determining a Lawyer’s Fees?

The primary reasons for the large disparity in the cost of a foreclosure are:

• The type of foreclosure defense strategy

• The lawyer’s fee structure

Generally, foreclosure lawyers either bill through a flat fee or by the hour. If a lawyer charges a flat fee, expect to pay $1,000-$4,000. There is a common misconception that a lower fee may indicate a low quality legal representation; however nothing could be further from the truth. A lower fee is simply an assessment of what work the lawyer expects to do with respect to the difficulty of the case.

Thus, if a foreclosure is going to be quick and relatively straight forward, a lawyer will likely charge a lower flat fee. By contrast, if the borrower is adamant about continuing to live in the house, or is otherwise putting forth difficult foreclosure defenses, the fee will likely be higher.

Hourly Rate

Some foreclosure defense attorneys charge an hourly rate for their services. The rate can range from around $100 per hour to several hundred dollars per hour. With this type of fee arrangement, the lawyer generally collects an initial retainer—an advance payment to the attorney before he or she starts to work on your case—of several thousand dollars. The retainer amount and hourly rate varies widely, depending on the attorney’s experience and the customary rates in the area.

How an hourly rate works. Say you give your foreclosure defense attorney a $2,000 retainer. She charges $200 per hour. First, she reviews all of the documents in your case. Then, she prepares and files an answer and affirmative defenses to the foreclosure action. All of this takes five hours. The attorney also spends time preparing for and attending a foreclosure mediation with you. You’ll also get billed for the time it takes to make phone calls and emails related to your case. This too adds up to five hours. The retainer is now gone and the attorney hasn’t even attended any foreclosure hearings yet. Because the attorney must do more work, you’ll have to make further payments.

Pros and cons. The benefit to this type of fee arrangement is you’ll only pay the attorney for the amount of time he or she actually works on your case. The downside is that while the attorney will probably be able to give you a likely range of what you’ll pay in total, you won’t get an exact price as far as what the total cost of the foreclosure defense will be—and hourly fees can add up quickly.

Flat Fee

Some attorneys charge a flat fee to represent homeowners in a foreclosure. Generally speaking, the fee can range from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the complexity of the case.

Pros and cons. The benefit to paying a flat fee is that you know ahead of time exactly what the total cost of your foreclosure defense will be. Whether it takes five months or two years to dismiss the foreclosure—or for the lender to complete the process—you know that this is all you’ll pay. The downside is that not all foreclosure attorneys offer this option and you’ll have to pay the fee upfront, which is difficult for many distressed homeowners.

Some foreclosure attorneys charge an upfront retainer ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and then a monthly fee (like $500) for each month that the foreclosure is pending. In addition, attorneys have been known to charge an extra fee on top of this—called a contingent fee—if the case is dismissed as a result of the firm’s efforts.

You Must Also Pay Costs

Foreclosure defense attorneys will also charge for costs, like mailing, travel expenses, and court costs, on top of their fee.

When the financial crisis occurred, it became difficult for many people, including attorneys, to find work. As a result, many attorneys became foreclosure defense “experts” overnight marketing their services to homeowners in distress. In some cases, the fees that attorneys charge for services related to foreclosure are not reasonable. This means you need to be careful and do your research when hiring an attorney to fight your foreclosure. Ultimately, when trying to decide if a foreclosure defense fee is reasonable, ask yourself whether the attorney is charging a fair amount considering the services provided or is he or she trying to get a windfall from your situation.

Be aware, as well, that many scammers prey upon homeowners in foreclosure. Take steps to avoid foreclosure rescue scams.

An overview of total fees

The cost of preventing a foreclosure is not easily categorized. We assume that it includes the staff costs of talking to the borrower, collecting financial documents (a task we have noted seems unreasonably difficult for the borrower) reviewing the documents, ordering and reviewing the appraisal, the cost of that appraisal (more likely to be a less expensive brokers price opinion or BPO) and the preparation of a justification to decision makers for any workout plan.

We have seen figures from non-profits that the cost of averting a foreclosure through the use of credit counseling from a non-profit agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development can range from a bit under $1,000 to $14,000 and we don’t quite know what to do with that large and disparate range. We do know that counseling programs vary greatly and we assume that those on the high side include programs that provide emergency funds to homeowners to bring loans current while those on the low side are primarily advising and educating their clients.

But the ,293 cost to foreclosure figure seems fairly easy to document and, compared to others that are widely bandied about ‘ from ,000 to 30 percent of the pre-foreclosure value of the house ‘ seems reasonable.
First of all, the cost does not accrue totally to the lender. The homeowner has a typical loss of $7,200 which includes loss of equity in the property, moving expenses, and perhaps some legal fees.

Those neighbors living in close proximity to the foreclosed house suffer $1,508 in losses from the decrease in the value of their own home as the neighborhood begins to deteriorate.

The local government loses $19,227 through diminished taxes and fees and a shrinking tax base as home prices decrease. This is a hard number to justify. First of all, only a portion of the declining tax base is due to foreclosures. A big chunk of it is based on falling prices community wide. And we’ll bet that even as we talk about it local governments are busy adjusting assessments and mill-levies to keep total revenues close to pre-housing crisis levels. This means that the neighbor’s share of the costs should be higher as they absorb increased tax levels.

Also, while the cities and towns are permanently losing some income from fees such as trash pick-up and water and sewer charges, if and when the house is sold they will collect back property taxes or, if they remain unpaid, they will become the owners of the property through tax title. (That opens a whole new area of concern, but one for discussion on a different day.)

That leaves us with total costs of $50,000 for the lender under the numbers produced by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. The Committee does not break out these figures but a new study from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) does. While there is not a total match between the two sets of data, they are close enough.

The Committee includes the following in its list of pre-and post-foreclosure expenses:

Loss on property/loan

Property maintenance


Legal fees

lost revenue




And S&P breaks them down as follows:

The largest component of the $50,000 is cash loss on the property. S&P pegs this number at $40,000 for a typical loan of $210,000. Investors who buy short sales tell us that the big lenders are unwilling to sell property or take payoffs for more than a 15 to 20 percent discount so these numbers are closely in sync. S&P however includes only the actual decline in property values in that 19 percent loss figure.

S&P assigns a staggering 26 percent of the loan amount for the costs of foreclosure. This category wraps up the remainder of the list above and include paying property taxes (3 percent, although many ignore this obligation, hoping to pass accrued taxes on to the eventual buyer), maintaining hazard insurance, legal fees (1 percent), an appraisal (although most lenders are choosing the far less expensive alternative of a brokers price opinion or windshield appraisal,) lost revenue (an estimated 13.6 percent of the loan amount) 6 percent marketing fees (broker’s commission) and 3 percent spent on home maintenance.

There is a figure that is usually not taken into account ‘ cash reserves. Bank regulations require that lenders put aside a percentage of their capital to cover potential losses. That amount, whether $100,000 or $500,000 is that much less that the bank has to loan to others and means more lost revenue.

It is obvious that no one is a winner in the foreclosure game. But we wonder if lenders and their real estate agents are not exacerbating the situation for all involved through their property management and marketing policies. A look at that later in the week.

The best fee structure is the one that best suit your needs, and foreclosure lawyers understand that. It is always a good practice to learn more about what you are paying for, and having a better idea of what a foreclosure will cost you when you go in for an initial consultation will better situate you to start a dialogue with your lawyer about their fee structure and why they use the one they do.

Foreclosure Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help to stop a foreclosure, call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We regularly work on real estate law cases that involve foreclosure. 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


Tooele Utah Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy Lawyer Tooele Utah

If you are overburdened with debt and you can unable to pay your creditors, contact an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer. The lawyer can review you circumstances and explain your options. There are other ways to deal with debts. However, they may not be suitable for all. The perfect option for you will depend on your circumstances. Sometimes it may be a better option to file for bankruptcy.

Debt consolidation is one of the most popular alternatives to bankruptcy when it comes to reducing personal debt in America. However, it is not without its own balance of benefits and drawbacks. Weighing these can help a person decide whether this avenue would be a good fit for their situation. Oftentimes, consumers find that bankruptcy may be a better option. If you are considering debt consolidation as an alternative to bankruptcy, speak to an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that debt consolidation involves taking out a loan to pay down the rest of your outstanding debts. These loans are easier to get than other types of loans and are exclusively to be used for this purpose. However, the fact that it is a loan at all can be a deterrent or an intimidating factor for some people already struggling with mountains of debt. Never assume a debt consolidation to be an automatic and viable alternative to bankruptcy filing. Sometimes a bankruptcy filing may be a better option.

Here are a few other important facts to consider when thinking about debt consolidation:

• Debt consolidation creates a single, monthly payment, rather than multiple payments to multiple creditors that consumers may currently be facing.

• These single payments may be significantly lower than the sum of payments they are currently paying – or they may be roughly the same.

• To get a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments, you will typically have to “secure” your loan.

• Securing the loan involves putting up collateral, which may include property or other valuables.

• If you fail to complete payments in a timely manner, you may risk losing these valuables.

• Consolidation also does not protect the consumer from default lawsuits, which can leave them vulnerable during their debt relief efforts.

Perhaps one of the largest drawbacks of choosing debt consolidation over bankruptcy or other methods is that it loses its appeal very quickly.
While heavy marketing and media popularity make it seem very appealing at the start, consumers often find that strict payment schedules and long, arduous journeys to a debt-free state make this method more difficult to navigate than they originally anticipated.

As the risks can become very high with this type of debt relief, it is important to weigh this option carefully under the advice of an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer.

For those who aren’t interested in the idea of taking on new debt or taking out a new loan, debt management programs or debt settlement can be solid choices. Here’s what you need to know about these approaches to debt relief:

Debt management programs are set up and run by credit counselors.

• They work with your creditors to reduce your payments and may even be able to lessen the amount of debt you have overall.

• Even if your overall debt cannot be reduced, your interest rates, late fees, and other associated expenses often are dramatically reduced or completely eliminated with this approach.

• This method does report on your credit ratings, as does any other debt relief program. However, it is removed as soon as you finish the program, whereas bankruptcy and other options will remain on your record for years to come even after you have paid down all debt.

• Debt management payment schedules are exceedingly strict; a single missed payment can result in termination from the program and requirement to repay fees and other associated cost.

• Debt settlement companies may promise to reduce your overall debt by over 50%.

• The process can take three to four years or more, depending on a variety of factors.

• There is no promise of effectiveness.

Credit card companies do not have to work with these agencies and there is little recourse for consumers if they choose not to.

As you’re exploring your options, you may notice that bankruptcy is regarded as a more dramatic option than most others.

Why is this?

As you’ll learn, it has a lot to do with what happens during bankruptcy – and afterward. There are also many misconceptions about bankruptcy, which can be put to rest by speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Some important facts to know about bankruptcy include:

Bankruptcy does not wipe out all of your debt instantly.

• It does freeze your debt, though, meaning creditors can no longer contact you about it. This is called an automatic stay.

• How much of your debt is released by filing for bankruptcy depends on which type of bankruptcy you file for.

• The type of bankruptcy you file will also depend on whether you are filing as an individual, business, etc.

• This doesn’t mean your debt won’t be repaid; the point of your bankruptcy is to negotiate a plan to address your debt, not to simply abandon it.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of assets in order to pay off as much of your debt as possible.

• The rest of your debts may be negotiated down or released, depending on your situation.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves paying down your renegotiated debt over the course of three-five years and typically does not involve liquidation.

• Both chapter 7 and chapter 13 are used for personal bankruptcy and may or may not involve exemptions when it comes to property, valuables, income, etc.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is typically reserved for businesses and is very similar to chapter 13.

• A business may choose to carry on everyday operations as normal during these bankruptcies, or may have to downsize significantly or even close due to the situation.

Bankruptcy payments boast an advantage over those of consolidation or other debt relief methods in that they are typically easier to meet financially. This is because they are customized based on what is actually available to a person from their income and assets, so they are more likely to continue making payment successfully during bankruptcy than during a consolidation.
One thing many people do not know about bankruptcy is that you can begin repairing and rebuilding your credit right away during a bankruptcy.

Other options – such as consolidation – do not allow you to work on your credit during the debt relief process. This means that you’re stuck handling one step of the process at a time, making it much longer than it may advertised to you as. While it may take multiple years for a bankruptcy to be worked through, you’re doing just that – working throughout the length of it – to rebuild your financial life as you go.

It’s important to remember that while paying down debt is a practical process and should be regarded as such, it can also be a very emotional journey for many people.

When you’re looking to pay down debt, it’s usually in preparation for a major change in your life or to move on from something that has caused damage in the past.

When emotion is involved, it’s easier to make irrational decisions, so taking your time and following the advice of an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer throughout your debt free journey is critical for achieving success.

To keep the balance of practical accomplishment and emotions in check during your debt-free journey, consider prioritizing your debt pay-down to give the most gratifying results, rather than simply the most practical.

What does this mean?

Here are a few examples:

• If you have two $500 debts to pay down or a single $1000 debts to pay down, you may choose to pay down the two $500 debts first in order to feel more accomplished emotionally.

• While debts with higher interest rates should typically be paid down first, debts in smaller amounts can be paid down quickly and give consumers a feeling of accomplishment right away, keeping them motivated to continue their journey.

These types of changes to your debt pay-down plan should only be made with the advice of your financial professional, of course.

However, working together with your experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer will give you the chance to voice your own opinions and concerns and do what feels most motivating for you.

At the end of the day, whatever is getting you to that endpoint in your debt-free journey is the best choice.

Knowing your options along the way will simply help you make the smartest choices throughout the path to get there.

Bankruptcy is a legal process intended to give honest debtors a fresh financial start by discharging their debts. When a debtor files for bankruptcy an automatic stay comes into operation preventing creditors from contacting the debtor or taking steps to collect the debt. If the creditor has initiated legal proceedings to recover the debt, the legal proceedings will be automatically stayed when the debtor files for bankruptcy. Consult with an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer if you want to file for bankruptcy.

To be eligible, your unsecured and secured debts must be less than certain dollar amount. This dollar amount is adjusted each year by law. If you want to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code, consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorney can advise you on your eligibility for filing under Chapter 13. If you have a source of income, you should consider filing under Chapter 13 whereas if you do not have a source of income, you should file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, a court appointed trustee will take over the individual’s assets and sell the assets to pay off the creditors. However, the trustee will not take over all the assets of the individual. Federal and state laws provide certain exemptions. Assets that are exempt under Federal and state laws continue to remain in possession of the individual. After all the non-exempt assets are sold by the trustee, the individual will receive a discharge. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also called liquidation proceedings. If you wish to retain your assets, speak to an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer. The lawyer will advise you on the best course of action. You may not automatically qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings in Utah.

The Bankruptcy Code has a provision for lien stripping. Liens can be stripped off of the debtor’s assets in when there is not enough equity in the asset, after deducting senior liens from the property’s current market value, to secure the unsecured in whole or in part, where the lien exceeds the value of the debtor’s property.

Lien stripping means reducing a secured claim to the value of the underlying collateral. The lien is bifurcated into secured and unsecured. If you want to use bankruptcy to strip a lien, contact an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer. You can legally strip a lien in bankruptcy. The secured lien is allowed in the amount up to the fair market value of the property at the time of the stripping. The balance of the lien, which exceeds the fair market value of the property, is now deemed unsecured. Speak to an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer to know how you can strip liens in bankruptcy.

Utah Bankruptcy is complex. Seek an appointment with an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer. An experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer can explain your options. You may have other options available. Consider these options. If these options are unworkable for you, then bankruptcy may be your only option.

Don’t try to navigate the complex maze of Utah bankruptcy laws by yourself. Always hire an experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer. In an attempt to save attorney fees, you may end up getting your bankruptcy petition thrown out without any of your debts getting discharged. An experienced Tooele Utah bankruptcy lawyer is your best friend when you are filing for bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy Attorney Free Consultation

When you need to stop a garnishment, stop a foreclosure, stop a repossession of a car, protect your wages, protect your assets, protect your home and your family, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We can help you. We file chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy, chapter 9 bankruptcy, chapter 11 bankruptcy and chapter 12 bankruptcies for those who need relief.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506


What Is A Construction Change Order?

What Is A Construction Change Order

A change order or change directive in a construction contract is an amendment to the legally binding contract.

Like death and taxes, changes to a construction project are a pretty sure thing. Maybe the owner decides he needs a bigger man cave added to his house, or perhaps the original drawings failed to show the requisite number of windows in the living room. Whatever the case may be, changes to a construction project can cause major headaches for both the owner and the contractor.

Most construction changes are made using change orders. However, if the sides can’t agree on how the change will affect the project and pricing, the owner may issue a construction change directive to instruct the contractor to make the changes. Read on to learn about construction change directives and how they might affect your project.

Construction Contracts Generally

Even if it’s not specifically required by your state’s laws, it’s always best to have your construction contract in writing. This helps all parties see the rights and obligations they are agreeing to from the start. Additionally, construction contracts should include a section on how changes will be handled. It’s important to read through the specifics before signing your construction contract to ensure that it’s fair and that you’ve anticipated as many potential roadblocks as possible.

Basics Of A Construction Change Order

A construction change directive is a way for the owner of a construction project to instruct the contractor to perform work in addition to what has been agreed to in the contract. This mechanism is used when the owner and contractor cannot agree on the schedule or budget of the additional work, or when they agree to determine pricing and timing later. Unlike a change order, to which both the contractor and owner have to agree, the construction change directive is not a request but an order to do something. This type of directive may be a helpful tool for the owner, but it can also lead to drawn-out legal disputes.

Does the Contractor Have to Follow the Construction Change Directive?

Unless the details of your construction contract speak directly to this issue, the contractor generally does not have to agree to the construction change directive in order to be bound by it. For example, Washington State’s construction change directive form says that once the document is signed by the state and received by the contractor, the contractor must proceed with the construction changes. Other directives require the signature of the owner and the architect in order to be effective.
The contractor can either agree to the changes in price and timing proposed by the owner, or dispute them after the work is completed. Either way, he or she is still supposed to perform the work specified while the dispute is pending.

How Are Disputes Resolved?

Sometimes the original contract will provide guidance for determining prices for additional work. For example, if the contract specifies that the contractor will be paid based on the actual cost of materials and labor, plus a fixed percentage, then this could help determine the additional amount. Similarly, the contract might specify that a neutral third party, such as the architect, will decide the cost.

If the parties still can’t agree, the contract may have sections regarding alternative dispute resolution. These could specify that disputes will be settled through mediation or arbitration. If these other methods fail, the dispute could move into litigation, where each party will likely argue that the other side has breached the contract.

Construction Contract Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a construction contract in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We can help you with loan review, construction financing addendums, real estate title work, quiet title actions, lawsuits, contract disputes and much more. 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


Family Lawyer Midway Utah

Family Lawyer Midway Utah

All parents have certain rights when it comes to their children. Under Utah law, parents have the right to make independent decisions about raising their children. This includes the place they want to raise the children, the school they want to send the children to, the religious beliefs they want the children to follow, etc. These rights belong absolutely to the parents and no one else. If your rights as a parent are being violated, consult with an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer to know your options. Your rights as a parent comes to an end once the child becomes an adult. However, there are two other ways in which your rights as a parent comes to an end – emancipation and termination of parental rights. In both these processes, the court plays an important role.

Emancipation Law

Emancipation is a legal process by which a minor ceases to be minor for all legal purposes and will be treated as an adult. It requires filing of an application in the court and the court will determine if the minor can be emancipated after considering the circumstances. Just because a minor has filed an emancipation petition, it does not guarantee automatic emancipation under Utah laws.

The court can refuse to emancipate the minor. In such cases, the parent continues to have rights over the minor. But if the minor is emancipated under Utah law, the parent ceases to have any rights over the minor. In fact, in the eyes of law, the minor is no longer a minor. He or she is an adult for all purposes. An experienced Midway Utah family lawyer can assist you with the emancipation process in Utah. There are certain minimum requirements for emancipation under Utah law. The minor applying for emancipation must be at least 16 years old. Emancipation can occur automatically if the minor joins the US army.

Termination of Parental Rights Law

If you neglect your child, the State of Utah can bring a lawsuit against you asking the court to terminate your parental rights. Your spouse or other relative can also bring about a lawsuit seeking termination of your parental rights. If you have received notice of a lawsuit seeking termination of your parental rights, consult an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. Once your parental rights are terminated by a court, you will no longer have any rights over your child. The child’s other parent will have all rights and in cases where the parental rights of both parents have been terminated, the court will appoint a guardian for the child.

Adoption Law

As a parent you can voluntarily place your child for adoption. Your spouse must consent for the adoption. Once your child is adopted, you will be asked to waive your parental rights. Once you waive your parental rights after your child has been adopted, you will no longer have any rights over the child. You may be able to enter into an agreement with the adopted parents before the adoption is finalized and specify the rights you wish to retain as the biological parent. Speak to an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer if you are planning to place your child for adoption. You may be able to retain certain rights over the child as the biological parent.

Divorce Law

If your marriage ends in a divorce, you can seek custody of the children from your marriage. The court will consider may things before it decides on which parent gets custody of the child. The factors that will be considered include the role each parent has played in the child’s life, the age of the child, the best interest of the child and in case of older children, the preference of the children. Generally, courts in Utah tend to grant custody of younger children to the mother unless it can be shown that granting custody to the mother is not in the best interest of the children. Once the court decides on who gets custody, the other parent – the non custodial parent is generally granted visitation rights.

Again, visitation rights can be denied if it is not in the best interest of the child. If the non custodial parent has in the past physically harmed the child, the court can deny visitation or grant controlled visitation. The non custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. Although the payment of child support is made to the custodial parent, the payment is for the child and the custodial parent cannot use the child support payment for personal use. The child support payments must be used for the child’s living, educational and medical expenses. Even if there is a balance amount after paying for the child’s living, educational and medical expenses, the custodial parent still has no right to use the balance amount for personal use. The issues of child custody, visitation and child support will come be considered by the court in an application for annulment of the marriage. While annulment results in the marriage being treated as if it never happened, the obligation to pay child support cannot be wished away.

Grandparent Visitation Rights Law

The custodial parent cannot deny grandparent visitation rights. Grandparents must have access to their grandchildren and the courts in Utah recognize this fact. If you are a grandparent and you are being denied access to your grandchild, consult an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. You can petition the court to grant access to you. The court will generally grant you access unless it is in the best interest of the child to deny you access. Grandparents can also seek visitation rights in an annulled marriage.

Grandparent Custody Law

If a grandparent believes that the custodial parent is not looking after the child or the child is being harmed by the custodial parent, the grandparent can approach the court and seek custody of the child. Utah courts have given custody of the child to the grandparents in cases where continuing to keep the child in the custody of the custodial parent wasn’t in the best interest of the child. Even if the marriage is annulled, grandparents can seek custody of the grandchildren.

Medical Decisions

As a parent, you can take medical decisions for your child. You can sign medical forms on behalf of the child and determine the treatment that your child should undergo. As long as you do not risk the life of your child, you have the full right to take medical decisions for your child. In case you are a divorced parent, the court at the time of deciding custody will determine who can take medical decisions on behalf of the minor child. It is important that this issue be settled at the time of the divorce or else it may create problems later especially if the spouses are not on good terms post the divorce.

Teenage Parent Law

Although teenagers are not adults, Utah family law recognizes the rights of teenage parents. If you know any teenage parent seeking assistance with Utah family law, direct them to an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. Teenage parent have certain rights and duties under Utah family law.

Teenage parents always have the right to make independent decisions about raising their children except when a family court decides that they really can’t handle such decisions. The parent-child relationship is protected by the federal Constitution, and states may not excessively interfere with the way parents raise their children. This right extends to teenage parents and their offspring. For example, the state may not require a couple to abandon custody of a child just because one or both have not reached the age of majority.

As with adult parents, a child can be removed from a teenage parent’s home only if the child has been neglected, mistreated, abused, or abandoned, and then only after a full due process hearing.

Legal Responsibilities Of Teenage Parents

Under Utah law teenage parents have the same responsibilities as adult parents. Teenage parents must provide their offspring with adequate care, nurturing, education and support. These responsibilities exist regardless of whether the child is born outside marriage, and they continue to exist until the child reaches the age of majority, even if a court forbids a parent to visit his or her child.

Consent To Medical Care For The Child

Teenage parents in Utah can consent to medical care for their children, and furthermore, no law requires the involvement of a teen’s parents in such matters.

Legal rights with respect to a child born outside marriage

Teenagers have legal rights with respect to a child born outside marriage. The Constitution gives parents of all ages the right of custody over their minor children. This right always includes children born outside of marriage and children of teenage parents.

When the parents of a child born outside of marriage are involved in a dispute over child custody, a family court will not always award custody to the mother. Courts still regard the mother as the natural guardian of a minor child, particularly a very young child. (This is called the “maternal preference.”) But a mother’s right to custody of a child born outside of marriage is far from absolute — it will yield to the child’s best interests.

As a practical matter, family courts are most likely to award custody to the parent who has been caring for the child since that parent knows the child best. If the parents are unmarried teens, the mother almost always is the caregiver, because teenage fathers rarely live with their children. What this means is that unless a teenage father can convince a court that the mother can’t take care of the child and that he can, the mother will usually be awarded custody.

Even so, a teenage father who wants to take day-to-day responsibility for his child can certainly seek to obtain custody. In a disputed case, if a family court determines that awarding custody to the father is in the child’s best interests, it may make such an award, even if the parents have never lived as a couple under the same roof.

Law on Change of Custody

Family courts hesitate to modify custody arrangements once they have been established. To do so, the circumstances in the child’s home must have changed dramatically, and the court must be convinced that a new home clearly would be in the child’s best interests. If this can be shown, the court might award custody to the child’s father, a grandparent, or another relative. The State of Utah has the power to remove neglected, mistreated, or abandoned children from their homes, either temporarily or permanently. Matters such as these are handled in child protection proceedings in family court.

When a teenage mother has physical custody of a child born outside of marriage, the father is legally entitled to visit the child unless the family court believes that contact with the child isn’t in the child’s best interests. A teenage father has the right to be involved with his offspring unless he has been proved unfit or has forfeited his parental rights.

Voluntarily Adoption Placement

A teenage mother can voluntarily place her child for adoption. The consent of both parents is necessary in order to place a child for adoption, except in cases in which a parent’s rights have already been terminated under Utah law. The consents must be in writing, and they can only be given after the birth of the child.

All parents have certain parental rights and obligations that cannot be just wished away. If as a parent your parental rights are being taken away, you have the right to fight it legally. Remember once the court terminates your parental rights, you will have no rights over your child. Seek the assistance of an experienced Midway Utah family lawyer. Trying to fight the case alone can prove costly. While you may save on the lawyer fee, you could and you will most likely end up losing your parental rights. Your rights as a parent will be taken away and you will no longer be able to take any decision on behalf of your child.

Midway Utah Family Law Attorney Free Consultation

When you need family law legal help in Midway Utah, call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We can help you with divorce, child support, child custody, division of marital assets, alimony, modification of child support, modification of decree of divorce, adoptions, prenups, postnups, and so much more. 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


Terms To Know If You’re Going Public

Terms To Know If You're Going Public

Below are definitions of business terms commonly associated with going public.

Agent. A person who buys or sells stocks for the account and risk of another person. An agent undertakes no financial risk and receives a commission for his/her services.

American Stock Exchange (AMEX). An open auction market where buyers and sellers of securities trade in a centralized marketplace. The AMEX typically lists small to medium cap stocks of smaller or younger companies.
Articles of Incorporation. A document filed with the secretary of state of a state which sets forth certain required information about the corporation.

Balance Sheet. A listing of a company’s assets, liabilities and net worth as of a fixed point in time.

Blue Sky Laws. A popular name for various state laws the purpose of which is to protect the public against securities fraud.

Board of Directors. A group of individuals, elected by the shareholders of a company, who oversee the management of the company.

Broker. An agent who acts as an intermediary between a buyer and a seller of securities. A broker receives compensation in the form of commissions.

Business plan. A written document that describes a business, its objectives, strategies, market ,and financial forecast.

Capital. Monies invested in a business enterprise.

Capitalization. The total amount of various securities issued by a corporation.

Cash flow statement. A charting of sources and uses of cash of a business.
Certificate of Incorporation. A certificate issued by the secretary of state of a state indicating that a corporation’s articles of incorporation have been accepted for filing and that the corporation is incorporated.
Corporation. An organization formed under state law for the purpose of carrying on a business enterprise in such a manner as to make the enterprise distinct from its owners.

Dealer. An individual or firm who buys and sells securities as a principal rather than as an agent. The dealer’s profit or loss is measured by the difference between the price paid and the price received for a security.

Debt financing. The use of borrowed money to finance a business.

Due diligence investigation. An examination by a company’s investment bank and accountants of the company’s management, operations, financial condition, competitive position, performance, and business objectives and plan, as well as information regarding the company’s labor force, suppliers, customers, and industry.

Equity. Stock ownership in a corporation.

Equity financing. The securing of a monetary investment from an investor in which the investor becomes a part owner of the business.

Fiscal year. The year-end established by a business for accounting, planning, and tax purposes.

Financial reports. Reports that show the financial status of a company at a given time.

Financial statement. A presentation of financial information derived from the accounting records. Financial statements include a Balance Sheet, Income Statement (or Profit and Loss Statement), and Cash Flow Statement.
Float. The number of shares of stock actively traded over a specified period of time.

Going public. The process of a private company selling its stock to the public to raise capital.

Income statement. An accounting method for determining the profit or loss of a business on a periodic basis.

Initial Public Offering (IPO). The initial sale by a company of shares of its stock to the public in the financial market.

Investment bank. Also known as an underwriter, an investment bank acts as an intermediary between corporations issuing new securities and the public. Normally an investment bank buys a new issue of securities for a negotiated price. The investment bank then forms a syndicate and resells the securities to its customers and to the public
Issuer. A corporation that issues shares of stock to be sold to the public.
Market maker. A broker/dealer who is registered to trade in a particular security on the NASDAQ.

National Association of Security Dealers, Inc. (NASD). A self-regulating industry association of broker/dealers in the over-the-counter securities business. The NASD administers the NASDAQ.

National Association of Security Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ). A global intranet which provides brokers and dealers with price quotations on securities traded over-the-counter.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). A trading floor marketplace where public buy and sell orders meet, resulting in competitive price discovery at the point of sale. The NYSE is linked to other markets through the Intermarket Trading System (ITS).

Offering statement. See “Prospectus.”

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Market. A residual securities market. All transactions that do not take place on a stock exchange are said to be executed in the OTC Market.

Prospectus. A written document prepared for presentation to investors as both a selling document and as a legal disclosure document. The prospectus contains a description of the business, management, management compensation, intracompany transactions, names and shareholdings of principal shareholders, audited financial statements, a discussion of operations and financial condition, use of proceeds, dilution, and the company’s dividend policy, as well as a description of the company’s capitalization and underwriting arrangements.

Public offering. The sale by a company of shares of its stock to the public in the financial market.

Registration statement. A document filed with the SEC which discloses pertinent information relating to a company’s operations, securities, management, and the purpose of the offering. Before a security may be sold on a national stock exchange, it must be registered.

Stock exchange. An organized marketplace where securities are bought and sold.

Subchapter S Corporation. A corporation that has elected under Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code not to pay any corporate taxes on its earnings, and instead to have its shareholders pay taxes on it.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The federal governmental agency that maintains order of the stock and securities exchanges.

Syndicate. A group of investment banks that collectively underwrites and distributes a new issue of securities to their customers and to the public.
Underwriter. See “Investment Bank.”

Securities Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a private placement memorandum, SEC filings, going public or other securities law in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. 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


Probate Lawyer Provo Utah

Probate Lawyer Provo Utah

We are what we own. However when the times comes to go, we have to leave our possessions behind and go. What happens to our possession after we are dead? Do our family members get to enjoy them? It all depends on what planning you did during your life time. Speak to an experienced Provo Utah probate lawyer to know how you can ensure that your family members get to enjoy your assets after your death.

When you die, the law of Utah, the state where you live—your legal residence—provides that ownership of all your assets is transferred to your estate. This transfer is automatic; there is nothing you can do about it (except to give some of your assets away prior to death so that the estate will be smaller). Your estate is a fictitious person, more or less like a corporation. The next step, established by law, is that someone—the “executor” of the estate—is required by law to write the checks to pay your debts and taxes and to transfer the legal titles to the assets that are now in your estate to the individuals and charities that you have designated. The transfer of the assets will follow the terms of your will—if you have one. If you don’t have a will, then the transfer will follow the procedures in the state of Utah where you had your legal domicile.

Perhaps the most basic distinction is between real property and personal property. Real property is land and things permanently attached to the land. (Thus the origin of terms such as “real estate” and “Realtor.”) Personal property is everything else. Furniture, jewelry, and cars are personal property, but so are intangibles such as copyrights, patents, promissory notes, and stocks and bonds. Some types of property present difficult definitional issues–growing crops are sometimes real property, sometimes personal property–but for the most part the distinction between real and personal property is easy to understand.

There is perhaps nothing more difficult than to give a precise and consistent meaning to the word ‘property’. The word ‘estate’ is often used to denote the whole of a man’s proprietary rights, more especially after his death. This sense of the word ‘estate’ must not be confused with the special meaning which it has in regard to interests in land. When we speak of a man of property, we may perhaps think in one of two ways. First, we may think of the traditional or even old-fashioned type of man with tangible material things which belong to him–land and houses, horses and cattle, furniture and jewelry and pictures– things which he may use or destroy (so far as that is physically possible); from which he may exclude others; which he may sell or give away or bequeath; which, if he has made no disposition of them, will pass on his death to persons related to him. Alternatively we may think of the more modern figure of a man whose wealth lies in his investments in stocks and shares. Whichever type of man we think of, we may find it difficult to say whether by ‘property’ we mean the things themselves or the aggregate of rights which are exercised over them. To confine the word to either sense would hardly be possible without pedantry; though on the one hand we may agree that a thing which has no owner–a rare event in a civilized country, except in the case of a few things, like wild animals at large–is not property, and on the other we may often avoid confusion by using the word ‘ownership’ for the most extensive right which a man can have over material things. But, further, we shall find that our conception of property relates to many things which are not tangible or material. Our man of property may be an author or a patentee, and we shall hardly be able to say that his copyright or patent right is not part of his property, or even to avoid speaking of his ownership of the copyright or patent. He will have debtors: his bank is a debtor to him for the amount standing to his credit; his investments of money are claims to receive payment from the State or from corporations or individuals. Such debts and claims are not rights over any specific tangible objects; they are mere rights against the State or the corporation or the person liable to pay. Yet these rights are transferable, and will pass on his death to his representatives.

We cannot exclude them from our notion of property or deny that in a sense, at any rate, he is the owner of them. On the other hand his ‘property’ clearly does not include all his rights. To say nothing of his general right of liberty or reputation, his rights as a husband or a parent are not proprietary rights, nor is his right to recover damages for personal injury or defamation; but we may include among proprietary rights the right to recover damages though unliquidated (i.e. of uncertain amount until settled by a judge or jury) for breach of contract, or probably even for injury to his property. Generally speaking we shall include under the notion of a man’s property in its widest sense all rights which are capable of being transferred to others, of being made available for payment of his debts, or of passing to his representatives on his death.

Ownership and possession

Turning to rights over tangible things, we must notice the distinction between ownership and possession. The owner of a thing is the person who has, in the fullest degree, those rights of use and enjoyment, of destruction, and of disposition, which have been mentioned above–subject of course to the general rules of law which protect the rights of others, to certain limited rights which he or his predecessors may have created in favor of others, and in the case of land to rules imposed by statute under which local and other authorities may purchase property compulsorily. The owner of a firearm is none the less owner because the law prohibits him from discharging it in a public highway; the owner of a field does not cease to be owner because the public or a neighbor has the right to use a footpath across it.

The main goals of estate planning are to ensure that the individual’s wishes are carried out, to minimize problems for the survivors, and to reduce estate taxes. The legal documents used to accomplish these goals include a durable power of attorney, a will, and, for some patients, a trust. Estate planning usually requires the services of an expert – an experienced Provo Utah probate lawyer.

You’ve worked hard all your life for your money, and you’ve worked hard at taking care of it. But do you really know what will happen to what you’ve accumulated after you die?

The fact is, if you don’t plan properly now, your estate could be eroded by estate taxes. And subjecting your estate to probate – the legal process through which the court ensures that upon your death, your debts are paid and your property is distributed according to your will – may mean additional costs and delays in transferring assets to your heirs. So, if you want your estate to go to your heirs instead of to the IRS, plan carefully now.

There are three main objectives of estate planning. The first is to reduce estate expenses and taxes. The next objective is to make provisions in advance for meeting these expenses so that your estate is not forced to liquidate assets at a distress price. The third objective of estate planning is to ensure that the remaining assets are distributed to your heirs in orderly manner and according to your wishes. Estate planning is essential since the first payments made from an estate are for estate expenses and estate taxes; your heirs actually receive what is left.
Many people believe a will is the best way to plan for the distribution of their estates, but this is not always true. A will does not avoid probate, and, because a will can go into effect only after you die, it provides no protection for you and your heirs if you become disabled.

What is so bad about probate?

The probate process can be an expensive and time-consuming process, depending on the state where you live. Probate costs, which must be paid from your estate before anything can go to your heirs, are generally estimated at 5 percent of an individual’s gross estate value and can be even higher in some cases. The probate process can take at least one to two years.

During probate your family loses control of your estate, as well as privacy. The probate process – not your family – has control, and your assets may be tied up until this process is completed. Additionally, probate fields are open to the public, so anyone can get information about your assets and liabilities.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to wills and probate. It’s call the revocable living trust. It avoids probate and ensures your estate plan won’t be altered by the court or legal technicalities in the event of your death or disability.

What is a living trust?

If you establish a trust during your lifetime, it is calling “living” trust. It’s a legal document similar to a will but offers much more. When you set up a living trust, you simply transfer most of your assets from your individual name to the name of your trust, which you control. Since there is no probate process with a living trust, upon your death, your assets are transferred to your heirs. All expensive court proceedings and delays are eliminated, your privacy is preserved, and the emotional stress on your family is minimized.

If you have a modest estate and your trust is fairly simple, you may be just fine as your own trustee. But if your estate is larger, has a variety of assets or requires tax planning, you should probably consider having a professional trustee involved.

Most people select a corporate trustee as their successor or co- trustee, especially if they don’t have the time, ability or desire to manage their own trust, or if one or both spouses are in declining health. Corporate trustees are in the business of managing trusts – they’re experienced investment managers and trained to be objective. their fees are generally competitive and if something happens to you, your corporate trustee will continue to manage your trust for you according to your instructions. If you and your spouse are co-trustees, either can act and instantly take control if one becomes disabled or dies.

If you die or become incapacitated, or if you are the only trustee, the trustee you selected can automatically step in and take over for you. This successor trustee looks after your care and manages your financial affairs for as long as necessary, using your assets to pay your expenses.

How is a living trust established?

You make the basic planning decision – inventory your property, decide who will be your beneficiaries, select your successor trustee, name a trustee and guardian for minor children, etc. Your attorney then prepares the actual legal document that addressed your specific needs. You sign the trust document, it is notarized, and then you change most of your property titles to reflect the name of your trust. You should also change beneficiary designations on appropriate assets.

Speak to an experienced Provo Utah probate lawyer

Seek an appointment with an experienced Provo Utah probate lawyer today to know how you can develop an estate planning device that can help your family members enjoy your assets without having to go through probate. Sometimes, your best option may be a will. Every will in Utah must pass through probate. An experienced Provo Utah probate lawyer can help you get a will probated.

Provo Utah Probate Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a case about probate in Provo Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 for your Free Consultation. We do probate, estate planning, estate representation, estate administration, last will and testaments, powers of attorney, health care directives and so much more. 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