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Utah Wills Laws

We all have some preconceived notions about what a last will and testament can do. Maybe you’re holding out hope for a financial windfall from a forgotten aunt, and looking to inherit the family business. But what does a will mean, legally? And what laws in the Beehive State control who can pass on what, and to whom? This is an introduction to wills laws in Utah.

Wills, Generally

A will is a legally binding document (or, in some cases, an oral statement) that details what should happen to an individual's property after he or she passes away. For example, a person's will could state that her farm should pass on to her grandson, or that her library of horticulture books be donated to the local library. State wills laws can vary, especially how they deal with oral or handwritten wills. For example, Utah does not recognize oral wills, but is generally lenient with handwritten testaments.

Wills Laws in Utah

The table below lists Utah's will statutes.

Code Section

Utah Code 75-1-101, et seq.: Uniform Probate Code

Age of Testator

18 years or older and of sound mind

Number of Witnesses

Signed by at least 2 individuals, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after he witnessed either the signing, testator's acknowledgment of that signature, or testator's acknowledgment of the will

Nuncupative (Oral Wills)

Not recognized

Holographic Wills

Valid whether or not witnessed if signature and material provisions are in handwriting of testator; last executed holographic will controls; if not dated, consistent provisions are valid; inconsistent provisions are invalid.

Understanding Wills

The “legalese” used in Utah estate planning laws can seem a little confusing to a layperson. For instance, a “testator” is the person whose after-death wishes are explained in the will. A “nuncupative” will is an oral, spoken, or otherwise unwritten will, and normally can only cover a limited amount of personal property (these are not legally recognized in Utah). And a “holographic” will is handwritten, and is generally subject to more scrutiny than a typed or printed will.

Related Resources for Utah Wills Laws

State wills and probate laws can be confusing, and it can be difficult creating a will that does exactly what you want it to. If you would like legal assistance with a probate matter, or creating or interpreting a will, you can consult with a Utah wills attorney. You can also additional articles and information on creating and changing a will by visiting FindLaw’s section on Wills.

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