Estate Planning Attorney in Utah - CostsStephen Howard and the Canyons
Law Firm provide estate planning services to clients all along the Wasatch
Front, and throughout Utah. If you have questions about wills, trusts, probate,
advance health care directives, powers of attorney, or other estate planning
issues, please contact us today to arrange for an
initial confidential consultation.
How expensive is it to use an estate planning attorney?Posted by Stephen W. Howard
Sometimes the better question is not "how
expensive will it be to use an attorney?" Instead, you may want to ask how
costly it could be to not use an attorney. In some cases, using an attorney can
actually end up saving you money and time, both now and in the long run.
Consider the following real situation. (Names and details have been omitted to
preserve client confidentiality.)
I recently had the opportunity to meet
with a woman whose husband had passed away a few months earlier. I was
originally contacted by an attorney with a law firm in another state, who told
me that the woman needed to be appointed as the personal representative for her
deceased husband's estate so that the firm could release certain funds that it
was holding on behalf of the husband's estate.
The attorney with the
other law firm informed me that the husband had died without any will (had died
"intestate"), and that he had children from a prior relationship. Under Utah's
laws governing intestate succession, this would mean that the wife would be
entitled to roughly one-half of her husband's estate, and that the two children
would share equally in the remaining one-half of the estate.
To have the
wife appointed by the court as the personal representative of her husband's
estate, a formal probate action would be necessary. If uncontested, the probate
action would require filing a petition for formal adjudication of intestacy.
Court filing fees would have to be paid. Heirs who agreed with the appointment
would each have to sign a waiver of notice. If heirs disagreed and filed an
objection, court hearings could be required. The process could become lengthy
and costly. This was the process upon which she was about to
Instead, she decided to consult with me. After a few minutes
talking on the phone, we decided to meet the next afternoon. We spent about an
hour reviewing her situation, gathering information about her husband's estate,
his heirs, the nature of the issue in the other state that had brought about the
involvement of the other law firm, and other relevant information.
end of our time together, we were able to determine that rather than filing a
formal probate action, a small estates affidavit could be used to accomplish
what needed to be done. I asked her to wait a few minutes while we put together
the necessary paperwork. She signed the small estates affidavit, we had it
notarized, then we scanned it and emailed a copy to the out-of-state law
That was it. Problem solved.
By consulting with an attorney,
she was able to save a substantial amount of money. (Even if she had filed the
probate action on her own, without an attorney, just the filing fees would have
been substantially more than what we charged her for our work.) And instead of
the weeks or months that could have been required to go through the probate
process, we were able to get her what she needed in just a little over an
So, the next time someone tells you that using an attorney is just
too expensive . . . consider what the costs of not using an attorney might
Contact a Utah Attorney at the Canyons Law FirmThe Canyons Law Firm is
pleased to provide legal services to clients on Wasatch front, and throughout
all of Utah. Contact us today to arrange for
an initial attorney consultation, and learn what we can do to help you with your
estate planning needs.