‘You can see it on their faces’; Estate planning gives peace of mind by making decisions you’ve been avoiding

Stock image, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Most people want to have a say in what happens when they pass away; however, one of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is that it only applies to people who have built up a significant amount of wealth.

That’s really not the case, says Jared Brande, attorney at Gurr, Brande & Spendlove in St. George.

Brande told St. George News that planning for the inevitable isn’t only for ultrawealthy or the elderly; everyone that has something to protect should consider getting their affairs in order.

“The most important part of estate planning is the peace of mind that comes from having planned your future,” he said.

Some of the common elements of an estate plan include the following:

  • Revocable trust – Otherwise known as a “living trust.” While not appropriate for all situations, it keeps the estate private, protects against incapacity and helps to avoid probate. You also get to see how it works while still alive. For people that own a home, Brande said it is really crucial.
  • Pour-over will – A will can nominate guardians, appoint executors, include burial instructions and ensure that everything in the estate will go into a trust at the time of death to be dealt with according to documents.
  • Durable power of attorney – Used in the event of incapacity, this allows an agent to take necessary steps to place assets in a trust that may have been excluded.
  • Health care directive – This grants an agent the authority to act on your behalf and make medical decisions. Without this directive, physicians will consult the spouse or next of kin, and that can make any situation more complicated, Brande said, especially when there are many loved ones who all feel like they know what is best. In end-of-life situations, it will also direct providers when you want life-sustaining care to be withheld.

Brande said his wife acts as his agent, and he finds it comforting to know that because of the documents they have set in place, if he can’t make his own medical decisions, she is able to make those tough choices for him.

“If you are unmarried, do you want your parents making those decisions for you? Maybe, maybe not,” he said.

Stock image, St. George News

Brande said it is not uncommon, particularly in Utah, to have couples in their late 20s and early 30s with young children in the home, but they have no real plan in case something happens to one or both of them.

“They’re planning to go on a trip, and something happens and they get in a car accident and they both pass away,” he said. “If they’ve done some planning ahead of time in their will, they would have been able to say, ‘If something happens to both of us, this is who we want to be the guardian for our children.'”

The main reason for laying out a plan, he said, is to keep people from fighting over decisions about what you consider most precious in life.

“You’ve got to have one decision maker. Ultimately somebody has to make the call.”

Another benefit to planning early is to save your loved ones from having to deal with a complicated and expensive probate process to distribute your assets after passing. Even in the best scenarios in Utah, this process can take between six and eight months to complete. 

“It’s more expensive,” he said. “Even a probate that doesn’t have any sort of dispute between beneficiaries is going to be more expensive than just doing the estate plan in most cases.”

Everyone’s situation is unique, and what they want to do at Gurr, Brande & Spendlove is sit down and talk to people individually and then come up with the best plan to meet their goals.

Estate planning is something most people know they need to do, and once they finally do it and their documents are complete, Brande said that without fail, people always say, “Oh man, I am finally glad to have this done.”

“At the signing, you can see it,” he said. “It is like a weight is off their shoulders. You can see it on their faces – the peace of mind that comes from having done their estate plan. They’ve been told their whole lives they should do this, and to finally get it done, it really brings some relief for them.”

While they have had to make some adjustments at Gurr, Brande & Spendlove to meet their client’s needs and stay safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are mostly business as usual. They are now doing more phone consultations and are set up on multiple video conferencing platforms to make the process as convenient as possible. They are also providing drive-up signing for clients to ensure everyone’s safety.

Brande said anyone with questions can call them at 435-634-8868 or visit their website for more information.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T •


  • Gurr, Brande & Spendlove, Attorneys | Address: 491 E. Riverside Drive, St. George | Telephone: 435-634-8868| Website.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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