Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning Attorneys
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What happens when a person dies without a will in Utah?

A person who dies without leaving a will is considered to have died “intestate.”  Under Utah law, what happens to that person’s estate is dictated by sections of the Utah probate code governing intestate succession (Utah Code Ann. 75-2-102 et seq.).

utah rules civil procedure 56 summary judgmentMost often, the “heirs” who are likely to inherit under intestate succession will be the person’s spouse or children.  The spouse has priority.  However, if there is no living spouse, then the estate passes to the children.  If there are no surviving children, then Utah law dictates that the estate would next pass to a surviving parent.  If no parent survives, then the estate passes to surviving descendants of the decedent's parents (typically siblings of the decedent).  If no descendant of a parent survives, then the estate passes to any surviving grandparent.  If there is no surviving grandparent, then the estate passes to any surviving descendant of the grandparents.  If none of the above individuals survive, then Utah law looks to descendants of the decedent's deceased spouse who are not descendants of the decedent.

Most people will have identifiable heirs under Utah's system of intestate succession.  However, if no taker exists, then under Utah Code Ann. 75-2-105, the intestate estate goes to the State for the benefit of the state school fund.

To learn more about creating a will, trust, or other estate planning issues, contact Utah attorney Stephen Howard today for an initial consultation.

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