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Probate Lawyer West Jordan Utah
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Probate Lawyer in West Jordan Utah.
Probate Lawyer in West Jordan Utah.

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Bankruptcy is an extremely long and large topic. Impossible for us to outline all of the issues that can be addressed in a bankruptcy case, but this article can give you an overview and provide you with the resources that you need to find the information that you want and need.

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is the legal process of asking the federal bankruptcy court for a discharge of your debts. Bankruptcy law is federal law and is set forth in the United States Constitution in the fourth Clause of Section 8 it states that Congress shall have power:

“To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States”

Click Here to Read the United States Constitution

Yes, believe it or not, bankruptcy is a federal right that you have and can exercise by filing a petition for bankruptcy relief with the federal bankruptcy court.

What are the chapters in bankruptcy?

The chapters in bankruptcy are the bankruptcy code sections that are followed for the administration of your bankruptcy case. The chapters of bankruptcy are 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common bankruptcy case. This is also called a straight liquidation or a fresh start bankruptcy. In this case, all of your debts that can be discharged are eliminated and erased by a federal discharge order at the conclusion of your case. These cases usually take about 5 to 6 months to complete.

Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

A chapter 9 bankruptcy case is for cities and municipalities. Unless you are the mayor or governor, you don’t need to worry about this chapter so we won’t address it here.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The chapter 11 bankruptcy case is typically called a business bankruptcy – but individuals can file until chapter 11 as well – it just is not very common because a chapter 11 case is very expensive to file and prosecute. Think of Sears, General Motors and Delta Airlines; all of whom have filed for chapter 11. Unless you have a business with over $2 million of dollars of value or debt, you need not worry about this chapter – if you do, give us a call to discuss your situation. We have done and do have some chapter 11 cases.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

The chapter 12 case is for people who farm or fish for a living. If you farm or have a fish hatchery, you qualify for a chapter 12 and we can go over the pros and cons of such a case when you meet with us.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A chapter 13 bankruptcy is the second most common bankruptcy case. This is known as a wage earner’s reorganization. In a chapter 13 you make regular monthly payments to a trustee who will pay back some or all of your debts over a 3 to 5 year period. The chapter 13 must be a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. There are some exceptions to whether you have to go for the full 3 to 5 years that we can discuss at another time, but keep in mind – you have to make monthly payments. If you can’t or don’t, you case is dismissed an you lose the benefit of filing your case.

Different Kinds of Debts in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy courts look at debts a little differently than you might. In bankruptcy, you generally have three types of debt:

(1) secured debts;
(2) priority debts; and
(3) unsecured debts.

Secured Debts

Secured debts are debt that you owe to someone where there is collateral securing the loan. The best examples of this type of debt are a house and a car. Typically, when you purchase a car, truck or van, your lender gets what is called a purchase money security interest. This means they get a lien on your car until you pay the debt off. The lienholder information is written on the title to your car and the title is even held by the lender until the debt is paid. Once you pay off the debt, the lender certifies on the title that the loan has been paid in full.

If you file for a chapter 7 case, you have essentially 3 options: (1) you can keep the collateral and pay the secured debt; or (2) you need to surrender or give up the collateral and the debt can be discharged; or (3) you can offer to redeem the collateral or in other words pay the lender the fair market value of the collateral and keep it.

Priority Debts

Priority debts are child support, alimony, court ordered payments, taxes to the IRS or Utah State Tax commission. Typically these debts are not discharged – although some can be depending on the court order, type of debt and your specific circumstances – call us to discuss your priority debts.

Unsecured Debts

Unsecured debts are credit cards, orthodontic bills, dental bills, clothing store bills, medical bills, and other debts that are not secured by collateral and have no priority.

Will Bankruptcy get rid of my debt?

Bankruptcy only gets rid of some debts. Depending on the types of debt that you have, you may be able to get rid of all of your debts. If all of y…

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DUI Lawyer Salt Lake City

DUI Lawyer Salt Lake City

As Salt Lake City Utah DUI Defense Attorneys, we have seen all the ins and outs of what law enforcement can and cannot do. We are here to protect your rights, prove that you are innocent, or reduce your penalties if you made a mistake. We review police reports and all evidence to make sure that the police did their job correctly. If they didn’t, we’ll bring it to the judge’s attention and get your case dismissed (which we have done before for other clients).

We’ll look over the police report and all the evidence they have against you. We’ll get body cam videos, dash cam videos, blood test results or breathalyzer tests and we’ll review any witness statements. We’ll make sure that if there is a way to get your case dismissed or thrown out of court, it happens. If we can’t get your case thrown out of court, we’ll either get you the best deal possible or discuss with you your options for trial.

What is a DUI in Utah?

A DUI (or in other states called a DWI) means driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. DWI means driving while intoxicated. In Utah, the DUI code is found under Title 41, Chapter 6a, Part 5 of the Utah Code Annotated. Click Here to read the actual statute.

Is a DUI in Utah a Felony Crime or a Misdemeanor?

You can get charged with a misdemeanor or a felony DUI in Utah. Usually, if it is your first offense, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This is especially likely if you have not been in a car accident as a result of the DUI and if it is your first offense. In Utah, if you have prior DUI charges, second and third DUI convictions hold very stiff penalties.

What is the Jail Time for DUI Convictions in Utah?

If it is your first time being charged, please keep in mind that a charge is not a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty or until you plead guilty. So, with that said, if you are convicted of a DUI in Utah, the minimum sentence is 48 hours in jail and for a second DUI conviction is 10 days in jail. These are typically misdemeanor charges. If you have a third DUI conviction within 10 years, you will automatically be charged with felony DUI. Additionally, you can be charged with felony DUI if you caused a serious accident because of being on alcohol or drugs. A serious accident is one where someone died or was seriously injured. If you are convicted of a felony DUI in Utah, you are looking at more than 62 and 1/2 days in jail (minimum) or up to 5 years in state prison (maximum).

Can I Get My Jail Time Converted Into Community Service?

The short answer is maybe. We have had cases where we have gotten jail time turned into community service; however, we need a good reason to ask for it and we need a way to show that you deserve it. Some judges are more harsh in their sentencing than others. The judge assigned to your case will play a big role as to whether or not you will be able to receive community service over jail time. Please keep in mind that judges are not bound by sentencing recommendations, so they can decide differently than we have worked out with the prosecutor in your case; however, our experience has actually never seen that happen – but it could. The facts of each individual case makes a difference as to what will happen. This is why you need our office on your side. With Ascent Law, you will have seasoned criminal defense lawyers who know the judges, know the prosecutors, and can get you the best deal, or even get your case dismissed.

What are the Fines In DUI Cases in Utah?

In Salt Lake City Utah, you are looking at fines ranging from $1,395 for your first misdemeanor DUI conviction; $1,940 for your second misdemeanor DUI conviction; and as little as $3,000 for a felony DUI conviction to as much as $9,250 in total fines due to the State. These, of course, are only due if you are found guilty. As your criminal defense lawyer, we get these fines reduced to as little as possible.

For all DUI cases, courts lean toward rehabilitation now more than punishment. This means that usually the judge wants you to get better. Because this is the case, you usually have to get into some type of treatment or go to a clinic and have an evaluation done. If there is recommended treatment from a provider, you must get that treatment as part of your sentencing. If you need treatment, we can usually get the cost of treatment to offset your fines due to the court.

What is the Minimum Blood Alcohol Content For DUI in Utah?

As you have likely heard on the news, Utah now has the lowest blood alcohol content in the entire United States a .05 means that you are legally drunk and unable to drive. For some people this is just 1 or 2 beers. We recommend that you do not drink any alcoholic beverage and then drive at all. Because it is so low, the chance of being charged with a DUI is simply not worth the risk. Not only co…

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injury lawyer salt lake city

Injury Lawyer Salt Lake City

Have you been hurt in a car accident?

Have you been the victim of a slip and fall injury?

If you have been harmed and it’s not your fault, you may be entitled to recover money to pay your medical bills, your lost wages and for your pain and suffering.

This may be the most important article you read this year.

Injuries, Accidents and How Insurance Companies Settle Claims

A slip and fall, car accident or intentional accident that leaves you injured but it can also leave you financially injured. Most of us think that we have insurance to cover such events, and while this is somewhat true, the insurance companies are primarily concerned with paying as little as possible while transferring the burden of the costs to you. This is why having an injury attorney on your side is so important.

Most people living in Utah do not fully understand all of the minute details of how insurance companies really work. Insurance companies are generally looking to improve their bottom line and turn a profit for their owners – not pay your medical bills. Let us take a look at how insurance companies work with hospitals to save money and transfer costs to you, the insured.

Personal Injury Settlements in Utah Explained

If you are in a serious injury or car accident and break your leg, the insurance company usually pays the hospital a percentage of the actual cost to treat your broken leg. This is because they have written contracts with the hospital to pay lower amount for their insured’s treatments. Typically, if you break your leg and decide to pay the hospital in full out of your own pocket, the cost would be $5,000 for example. Now most of us assume that our insurance company pays the hospital the full $5,000, but that is not the case. The insurance company will only pay a portion. For example they may pay $4,000 for the procedure. This happens because insurance companies create complex contracts with the hospitals at a discounted rate. If the hospital does not agree to offer a substantial discount, the insurance company will not allow the hospital to be in their “covered network” of providers. This means that the hospital will generally not be able to treat any of the people covered by the insurance company. This could potentially be thousands of patients for that hospital.

Due to the insurance companies having the upper hand in contract negotiations with the hospitals, the hospital always negotiates and agrees to some form of a discount. Either way, the insurance company will always pay less than full cost for the procedure. If you have a the right injury lawyer on your side, the lawyer can also do this. We have done this for our clients. We can usually reduce medical bills if you’ve been injured. Unfortunately, this is really hard for you because you are the one that was injured and they want you – the end consumer or user – to pay the full price of what they charge.

Depending on your insurance policy and coverage exemptions, you will most likely be required to pay for a portion of your medical care. This can include the deductible and any other special circumstances. Your policy may indicate that you are responsible for the first $1,000 of an inpatient stay (plus your deductible) and that the insurance company will pay the remainder. These amounts vary dependent upon your specific policy.

If your insurance company can, they will shift as much of the costs to you as possible in a serious injury accident. This can result in you suffering huge financial difficulties. If your insurance company agrees to only pay a percentage of the cost of your treatment this will very likely be the way it is. For example, they may agree to pay 85% of cost. Now if you have a serious injury accident and the bill comes to $225,000 (which is not unheard of) then you would be responsible for $33,750 of the total bill. If you don’t have a personal injury attorney on your side by that time; then, you may have to consider filing for bankruptcy. That is something you shouldn’t have to do if you weren’t at fault. The good news is that attorneys at Ascent Law have experienced in both personal injury cases as well as chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies. If you have to file bankruptcy because there is no coverage anywhere and you are stuck with huge bills – we can help with this as a last option.

Horror Story of Personal Injury Gone Wrong

We’ve had a client who fell from a 3 story building on a construction site. This was during the great recession. Because the insurance companies denied coverage and the company owner went out of business, our client was stuck with medical bills in excess of $500,000. The good news is he was able to file a medical bankruptcy and get rid of all of that debt and move on with this life. He is lucky to be alive.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Injured In Salt Lake City Utah


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Utah Bankruptcy Attorneys

Utah Bankruptcy Attorneys

Are you being harassed by creditors calling you to collect?

Do you feel stressed amount money and debt?

Are you facing a foreclosure, bank garnishment or car repo?

If you are struggling with money, you are not alone. Many are suffering in these economic times. Whether you have experienced a job loss, medical bills, or financial trouble, we are here to help.

Ascent Law is a team bankruptcy lawyers in Utah who help clients deal with financial distress. We will take all of your harassing creditor phone calls. We will make them stop. When facing large amounts of debt, you need to understand available options and be able to decide whether filing bankruptcy is a viable answer for your specific financial situation. Discussing your finances with experienced Utah bankruptcy attorneys can help you make informed decisions about getting out of debt once and for all. A fresh start in life can give you the peace you are looking for.

Utah Bankruptcy Attorneys at Ascent Law understand that you already feel bogged down in debt. We even offer payment plans that make our quality services affordable for anyone. There is no reason not to call us today to get back on the financial track you want to be on. We are here to help you and with a free initial consultation, you should call us right now.

In order to best help you, please review this guide that explains some of the aspects of bankruptcy law in Utah.

Bankruptcy Law in Utah

Bankruptcy law in Utah and across the United States is made by Congress and is a part of the Federal Court System. There are essentially 2 types of bankruptcies that most people look at filing. One is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and another is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. There are also chapters 9, 11, and 12, but we’ll save those for another day.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case in Utah

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is typically called a fresh start bankruptcy or a clean slate because with the power of the bankruptcy court, we can erase your debt completely.

Chapter 7 Means Test

In Utah, to file for chapter 7 relief, you must pass the means test. This isn’t like a school test; rather, it is a calculation based on the median income that the IRS has established for those who live in your county in Utah. You have to be at that amount of income or lower over the last 6 months to qualify to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We will run this test for you when you call in or come into our office.

Chapter 7 Credit Counseling

You also must receive credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. We recommend that you go through because they have been the cheapest of all approved credit counseling agencies. The costs is $14.95 and you should click on the green button on that page and make sure you take the pre-filing class first. After your chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed; then, you have the requirement to complete an instructional course regarding personal financial management (also called a Debtors Education Course) before your discharge is granted. The discharge is a federal bankruptcy court order stating that you are no longer legally responsible to pay the debts you listed in your bankruptcy papers. Of all the papers in your bankruptcy case, this is the one at the end that you want to hang on to.

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you need to know which type of case is best for you. Should you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 case? The best steps to take are to get all of your bills together and meet with a bankruptcy lawyer at Ascent Law. Ascent Law has decades of legal experience in bankruptcy court to assist you. Literally thousands of people have received debt relief through the attorneys in our office. You can get debt relief too. After discussing your financial situation and evaluating your debts with us, you can find out whether you meet requirements and get the best legal advice about which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. Remember, not all Utah Bankruptcy Attorneys are the same, and not everyone should file for bankruptcy. In our view, bankruptcy should probably be a last resort after all else fails; however, depending on your situation, it can you give you the peace that you need. Think about sleeping again at night and not having that constant nag at the back of your mind. Complete debt relief and opportunity to start over financially can be yours if you qualify.

Find a Bankruptcy Lawyer You Can Trust

Ascent Law has several attorneys who are licensed and regularly practice in the Salt Lake City Bankruptcy Court. We provide you with a lawyer for local representation in bankruptcy matters. We continue to serve all of Utah, including West Jordan, South Jordan, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Midvale, Riverton, Draper, Magna, Alpine, Lehi, Tooele, Grantsville, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Bountiful,…

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Salt Lake City Business Litigation Attorney

Salt Lake City Business Litigation Attorney

As lawyers who fight court battles for our business clients, we’ve come to realize over the years that if the businesses we represent can sign some documents before the fights begin — maybe when the company is first established — then, if contract disputes or other disagreements arrive, we have a better chance at resolving the case without going to trial.

Don’t misunderstand us — we love going to court and battling it out in litigation. We enjoy that – it is our job. However, with that same enjoyment in the courtroom, we realize that out clients are better served when they can avoid the courtroom.

Trial Lawyers in Utah

As litigation attorneys, one of the skills that we must have is the ability to convey a story to the jury or judge. Judges don’t need a story as much as a jury. Jurors can get bored during a trial. We have polled jurors after verdicts and we find that legal concepts can evade them. When it comes to business trial work, we prefer to have judges rule on every decision possible. A judge who has prior business litigation experience is extremely helpful because that judge will understand the legal concepts and arguments advanced. When a trial is necessary in your business, please call us to discuss our availability to represent your business. We have all types of business litigation from trademark infringement, collection matters, breach of contract, non-compete agreements, and buy-sell agreements to name a few.

Business Owners Should Have a Buy-Sell Agreement

If you own a business with someone, you may have heard the term “buy-sell agreement” or a “buyout agreement.” This is a common legal document that serves as a fail-safe for many owners and it may be pertinent for you to have use draft one for you. Understanding buy-sell agreements in more detail may help you decide if creating one it right for you and your business.

What is a Buy-Sell Agreement?

A buy–sell agreement is a legally binding agreement between co-owners of a business that determines what should be done if a co-owner leaves the business because of death or any other external circumstance. Essentially, it’s like an estate plan for businesses.

There are three common types of buy-sell agreements: cross-purchase, redemption, and hybrid. Each form has different functions, and it is important to understand the differences so you know what sort of buy-sell agreement you will need.

A cross-purchase agreement is a type of buy-sell agreement where the co-owners agree that in the event of departure of a co-owner, they will buy out that co-owner’s share of the business at a specified price.

A redemption agreement is a type of buy-sell agreement where the company buys the departed owner’s share of the business. Typically, the business will have a life insurance policy for each owner and in the event of death, will use the resulting money to purchase the deceased owner’s share.

A hybrid agreement is a type of buy-sell agreement which combines the other forms of buy-sell agreements, requiring the remaining owners and business to purchase the interest of the departing owner. If the owners won’t buy the departing owner’s interest, the business is then obligated to do so.

However, all buy-sell agreements are unique to each business, so it is important to consult with a lawyer about the right buy-sell agreement for you and your business.

Why Should I Get a Buy-Sell Agreement?

If you co-own a business, or want to start a co-owned business the long and short of the matter is that you need a buy-sell agreement as soon as possible. These agreements protect your interests and the interests of the business when a co-owner wants to leave or is forced to by extenuating circumstances. Without a buy-sell agreement to protect your interests and the interests of the other owners of your business, you put yourself at significant financial risk.


In the absence of a buy-sell agreements, situations like sudden death or mental or physical illness can have a major detrimental effect on your business. If there is no agreement, your co-owners may be unable or unwilling to buy your share of the business, forcing you or people you care about to sell your share to a third party at an amount far less than the actual worth of your share because of the desperate situation. We could tell you horror story after horror story of situations that went wrong. Don’t let that be you. Buy-sell agreements prevent such situations from occurring and ensure that all parties maintain financial security in the business in the event of an unavoidable departure.

For more information on buy-sell agreements, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (801) 876-5875 today.

Ascent Law LLC8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite CW…

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mergers and acquisistions lawyer in utah

Business Lawyer in Salt Lake City Utah

Generally speaking, buying a business is less risky than starting your own, largely because the business you’re buying already has incoming profits. However, there are still drawbacks, and it is important to buy a business in a field you are already very familiar with. Finding such a business can be difficult though, and there are people to help you.

Do You Need a Business Broker in Utah to Buy a Business?

A business broker can be an efficient way to find a business that would be good for you to buy. Brokers are well-versed in the business market and know effective strategies for pre-screening businesses, helping you pinpoint your interests, negotiating, and assisting with paperwork.

Do You Need a Business Attorney When Buying a Business in Utah?

Regardless of whether or not you hire a broker to find a business, it is always smart to put together an acquisition team consisting of at least you accountant, and a business attorney in Utah. If you already have found a business to buy, you don’t need a broker to help you.

You really do need a business attorney on your side to make sure that you engage in due diligence. You also need to make sure that you have the right type of business purchase and sale agreement. This contract can save you from making huge mistakes. One of the provisions that you ought to have in your contract is a due diligence period. This period of time to evaluate the business is essential to avoid making a huge mistake. Look over the actual bank statements with your accountant and attorney. This step alone can save you hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in the long run.

Your attorney and accountant need to be your team. This team of trusted advisers functions as your transition team and will help you make the best decisions in regards to the purchasing of the business you want to own and perhaps even help operate.

What is Due Diligence in Buying a Business in Utah?

Before you decide to buy, however, make sure you and your accountant and business lawyer evaluate the value of the business and engage in due diligence. We have a practice of reviewing all bank account statements as well as financial reports to make sure that there is no fraud or cooking of the books. Cooking the books means that the business owner or his book keeper falsified information to get you to pay a higher price for the business. To determine whether this has happened, we need to go through these items and review their current and potential effects on the business:

● Inventory
● Furniture, fixtures, equipment and building
● Copies of all contracts and legal documents
● Incorporation
● Tax returns for the past five years
● Financial statements for the past five years
● Sales records
● Complete list of liabilities
● All accounts receivable
● All accounts payable
● Debt disclosure
● Merchandise returns
● Customer patterns
● Marketing strategies
● Advertising costs
● Price checks
● Industry and market history
● Location and market area
● Reputation of the business
● Seller-customer ties
● Inflated salaries
● List of current employees and organizational chart
● OSHA requirements
● Insurance
● Product liability

Once you have determined the credibility and value of the business to be favorable, a sale price and terms of sale must be negotiated with the seller. This is another situation where your acquisition team is invaluable. Price is a very hard element to pin down and, therefore, it is for the buyer to assess. You and your acquisition team can come to a fair price using various methods, some of which include multipliers, book values, EBITA, and returns on investment.

EBITA means Earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization. This is a way to value a business’ earnings before the deduction of interest, taxes and amortization expenses. It is a financial indicator used widely as a measure of efficiency and profitability. We like to use this value, but there are other values to use when negotiaing a price. The seller obviously wants the highest price possible and the buyer wants the lowest.

Highest Price or Best Terms?

When we represent buyers, we negotiate the lowest price and terms based on our client’s best interests and when we represent the seller, we work to secure the seller’s interest and get the highest amount possible depending on the seller’s goals.

You need to figure out what you are trying to accomplish when purchasing a business. What is your end game or end plan? Do you want to have it as a passive investment where you are hands off or do you want to operate the business and manage it? This will also go into the calculation of a business.

Besides price, do not forget the important element of terms. Some business can be partially or wholly financed through the company itself. This is an option that we,…

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utah probate attorneys

What is Probate? – Utah Probate Lawyer Explains

If someone close to you has recently died, the distribution of their estate may be a part of settling their affairs. We call the person who died a decedent. Depending on the situation, it may be necessary to probate the estate. Unless you are a lawyer or court official yourself, it is likely that the Utah probate system is unfamiliar to you.

This can seem confusing, but understanding a little bit about what probate is and when it is necessary can help you determine whether or not this is a necessary legal process for your personal situation.

What is Probate?

In simple terms, probate is the legal process of proving a will’s validity in court. If the decedent did not leave a will then the probate appoints someone to sign the decedent’s name and administer what the decedent left behind pursuant to the Utah Probate Code. This is important step when determining how the deceased’s assets will be distributed. It grants the personal representative (also called an executor), or person enacting and enforcing the will, legal permission to carry out the will as specified. Probate may also include appraising assets and paying debts and taxes.

However, probate isn’t always necessary. Whether probate is necessary or not depend on the condition of the estate left behind. For example, property left in a valid trust does not need to be probated – it is administered outside of probate. In Utah, there are many ways to avoid having to go through the probate process. Discussing your options with a lawyer is the best way to know whether or not probate is necessary for you.

How does Probate Work?

First and foremost, there are two kinds of probate court processes in Utah, formal and informal.

An informal probate process is used when the beneficiaries of the will are generally in agreement, and don’t require a judge to settle disputes. This process is also significantly less expensive than the other. If all of the parties to the probate case in in agreement, we call that an uncontested probate case and it flows smoother than a contested case, or one where everyone fights about different things.

A formal probate process is for when the beneficiaries are unable to agree and therefore require a formal court setting in order to settle disputes. In a formal probate, there are more steps, several court hearings in front a judge happen and it can be cumbersome and expensive.

If you’re not sure whether you have a contested probate case or an uncontested one, you should speak with a probate attorney to discuss how to proceed.

How to Start a Probate Case in Utah

After deciding which process to use, the probate is opened and started by the Personal Representative (or Petitioner) by preparing and filing an application or petition for probate and appointment of personal representative in the district court. Your attorney will draft this petition.

In order to properly draft this petition, lawyers need to have some vital information.
First, attorneys need to know the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each person named in the will and all children and surviving spouses as well. If there is no will, the attorney still needs all of the contact information for surviving family members. Second, the lawyer will need a copy of the death certificate. The attorney will also need a copy of the last will and testament if there is one. The attorneys typically no longer need to keep the original will. In our office, we will scan the original, examine it, and return it to the person who provided it. Utah courts no longer require the original will to be filed with the courts because the courts are all on a digital system. Once the property attorney has this information, the petition is drafted and filed with the court. The This stage in the process ends when a personal representative is appointed and the court accepts the will (if there is one) as valid and a court order authorizing the probate of the estate is signed and letters testamentary or letters of administration are issued.

The second portion of the court proceedings determines whether the probate will be administered without formal decision from the court (informal) or if a court needs to settle disputes over distribution in hearings (formal). This is complete when all debts and creditors have been paid, and all inheritances have been calculated for the respective heirs.

Finally, the probate must be closed informally with a closing statement or formally with a petition to the court. The proceedings are finished when the Personal Representative is released from their position and no appeals are waiting to be heard.

So What Do I Do Now?

Probate can be a long, expensive, and confusing process, but it can often be avoided, especially if an estate plan has been created. Nevertheless, probate may be the most important s…

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Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Utah

Divorce and Legal Separation typically go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Depending on your personal situation and relationship with your spouse, one option may be better for you than the other. Understanding the key differences can help you decide what is best for you.


Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage via the court system. After divorce, both parties can legally remarry. However, there are some rights and benefits of marriage that will be lost in divorce. These may include tax benefits, health insurance (including dental and vision), some forms of life insurance, government benefits, etc. To know what the specific legal consequences of divorce would be for you, consulting a Utah lawyer is your best option.

Divorce entails a full and complete division and separation of all assets and resources, which can be expensive and may require extensive amounts of time. If you are interested in marrying someone else, or that is something you think you may want to do in the future, you surely need to get divorced. You don’t want to commit bigamy and be in violation of Utah’s criminal laws. Thus, divorce may be the right choice for you if the relationship between you and your spouse is unsalvageable or if there are other severe circumstances that cause you to feel that divorce is the proper and prudent action to take.

Legal Separation

divorce vs legal separation in utah

Legal separation is a court order that defines the rights and duties of a married couple who is living apart, but still wishes to remain legally married. It may continue on to a divorce decree later, but this is not always the case. Often, legal separation allows each party to retain the legal benefits of marriage, because it does not legally dissolve the marital union.

However, there are still issues in regards to separate maintenance, and child custody and child/spousal support that must be determined either between the parties via negotiation or mediation or ultimately through court. Additionally, all debts acquired by each spouse after separation will still be treated as joint debt.

Legal Separation may be the right choice for you if the circumstances of your relationship make you want to avoid divorce. Nevertheless, it is important to consult a lawyer about your options and what is best for your situation.

So, Legal Separation vs. Divorce – How Do I Know What the Best Choice Is?

Every situation and relationship is different. There are countless emotional and material investments and commitments entrenched in marriage, and these things take time and help to adequately sort through during the processes of separation and divorce.

If you are considering legal separation instead of divorce, communication is the key factor. We recommend setting aside some time to sit across a table and discussing the situation. Sometimes having a frank chat about what is going on and how to resolve the conflict and issues can be a huge step forward to getting a separation agreement listed out. We understand that emotions play a role and it might be too hard to do. If that’s the case, you should look at mediation. If you can’t really communicate well with your spouse anymore, or if they shut down at the thought of getting things resolved; then, the next step should be to call us to talk about moving forward.

One of the main reasons we see people seeking a legal separation instead of a divorce is for medical insurance. If you get divorced, your ex-spouse (ex-husband or ex-wife) cannot be on your health insurance policy. If neither of you intend on remarrying soon, this is an option to keep the other party on your insurance policy.

Another reason we see for legal separation is because the parties are older and they have no intention of getting divorced — meaning, they know they are not getting remarried, so they don’t want to get divorced. One last reason that is common is for religious reasons. Some people believe that divorce is a sin under their religious beliefs and so, a legal separation is preferred for that couple so they do not impair their relationship with God.

All of these and other reasons are valid and important. You should weigh the pros and cons of divorce versus legal separation in your specific situation and what you arrive at will be the right choice for you.

Turning a Legal Separation into a Divorce in Utah

Once a legal separation order has been signed by a court in Utah; you can later convert that order of separation into a divorce decree in the future. You should contact a family law attorney or our office and we can file a motion to convert the order to a divorce decree. Your spouse may object and has the right to do so. If an objection is filed with the court; then, a hearing will likely be held by the court. We have to show that the court has jurisdiction and grounds to grant …

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child custody lawyer in utah

How Is Child Custody Determined in Utah?

Some of the biggest concerns for people filing for divorce have to do with custody of the children. This can get messy when each parent has a different desire for what happens to the children. However, the court’s priority when determining custody is what is best for the child, regardless of whatever else happens in the divorce proceedings. I’ve previously discussed this here.

What goes into consideration when deciding custody?

A family court judge or court commissioner will hear the case as each side presents evidence to their case for being the best suited caretaker for the child.

Since the court decides custody based on what is best for the child, factors like who filed first will not affect the court’s decision on who gets custody. However, the Utah Courts have published information and case law and statutes in Utah tell us what will affect the court’s decision:

“General factors for determining the best interests of a child if the parents dispute custody:

– the parents’ conduct and moral standards;
– which parent is more likely to act in the child’s best interest;
– which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent;
– the depth, quality, and nature of the relationship between a parent and child.

The judge may ask a child who the child wants to live with, but the desires of a child—regardless of age—are not controlling, and the court may determine custody contrary to the child’s desires.
In determining whether the best interest of a child will be served by ordering joint legal or physical custody, the court may consider the following factors:

– whether joint legal custody or joint physical custody will benefit the child’s physical, psychological, and emotional needs or the child’s development;
– the parents’ ability to give first priority to the child’s welfare and reach shared decisions in the child’s best interest;
– whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, including the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
– whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce;
– the distance between the parents’ homes;
– the child’s preference (if the child can form a preference about joint legal or physical custody);
– the parents’ maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents;
– the parents’ ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly;
– any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping; and
– any other factors the court finds relevant.”

I’ve also outlined an overview of family law and divorce in an interview that you should find helpful.

What happens after custody is determined?

According to law, the parents must abide by the court’s decision, whatever it may be. Parent time and child support may not be withheld if the court has demanded it be given. Violation of the court orders can result in judgement, fines, and even jail time.

Custody orders may be modified, but only through petitioning the court, and only if there have been significant changes in the circumstances that change what the best interests of the child would be.

For more information on child custody and divorce law, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (801) 876-5875 today.

Ascent Law LLC8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite CWest Jordan, Utah84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 876-5875

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

Additional Resources


How to Modify Child Custody

Main Concerns About Child Custody

How is Child Custody Determined as a Part of Divorce”

Custody Battles in Utah

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How Do I Know If Bankruptcy is Right for me

When is bankruptcy a good idea?

Many people believe that bankruptcy is and will always be nothing but a bad thing. In the public mind, bankruptcy means losing your house, your livelihood; everything you own. This is, for obvious reasons, an undesirable mental image. However, bankruptcy may be a wise and important choice to make, depending on your personal debt situation.

So, how do you know if filing for bankruptcy is the right decision for you? Understanding how bankruptcy works and what it is for can help.

What is bankruptcy?

There are two different kinds of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each has a different function and purpose.

To briefly quote our more in-depth article about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, “A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a bankruptcy case in which we give the debtor, the person who owes all the money, a fresh start, a new beginning. It essentially wipes out or erases the debt that the debtor has.”

In a Chapter 7, your assets may be seized and sold to creditors in order to pay off your debt. However, most people eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not have more assets than they are capable of protecting. In this case, you will be able to eliminate your unsecured debts without losing what you own.

In contrast, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is “a wage earner’s reorganization. What that means is … you will make a regular monthly payment, called Chapter 13 plan payment to the trustee who is assigned to the case. In the state of Utah, there is only one trustee, and at this time, it is Lon Jenkins … Depending on how your plan is structured, you may or you may not pay off all of your debt in five years. It really depends on the type of debt and how the plan is structured. The payment is usually a minimum of $100 a month, to the Chapter 13 trustee for at least three years.”

Since Chapter 13 bankruptcies help you repay your creditors with a piecewise payback plan, it is highly likely that you will be able to retain your assets.

How do I know when filing for bankruptcy is a good idea?

Bankruptcy is different for every individual situation, so understanding your debts is the very first step to knowing if filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you. If all other alternatives to bankruptcy are exhausted or not working, it may be time to consider bankruptcy.

However, it is important to note that there are debts that a bankruptcy proceeding cannot relieve. These debts can include:
• Child support
• Spousal support
• Criminal restitution
• Fines
• Tax debts
• Bad checks
• Credit card fraud
• Student loans

The rules and regulations for non-dischargeable debts are complicated and should be discussed with a lawyer or someone else with extensive knowledge before filing for bankruptcy.

Figure out what will happen to your home, car, pension, credit score, co-signers, and personal life if you file for bankruptcy. Consult with a lawyer or other knowledgeable person about the projected outcome and consequences of filing for bankruptcy.

If you are considering bankruptcy and would like more information or guidance about your options, call (801) 876-5875 for a free initial legal consultation.

Ascent Law LLC8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite CWest Jordan, Utah84088 United StatesTelephone: (801) 876-5875

Ascent Law LLC

4.7 stars – based on 45 reviews

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