How Probate Laws Work in Utah

When a person dies in Utah, someone becomes responsible for their estate. Certain tasks must be taken care of even while you’re dealing with the loss of a family member. Creditors must be paid and all assets accounted for.

Probate is the legal process of dispersing an estate. Strict timelines must be adhered to and specific forms must be filed. The court oversees the process of distributing the estate to ensure the will is followed.

Is Probate Required in Utah?

Estates must go through probate as required by state law in Utah. However, there are ways to avoid probate if you plan ahead.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Utah?

If you want to avoid having your estate go through probate, you will need to make a plan. The best option is to place the estate in a revocable living trust where you still maintain control. When a beneficiary is named, they will receive the assets of the trust at the death of the owner without the need for probate.

In some cases, you can’t avoid probate, but you can keep certain assets out. For instance, if you own an asset jointly with another person, they would receive total ownership upon your death. Another option is to name beneficiaries to accounts before death. Any bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts and life insurance policies with a named beneficiary other than the estate would skip probate. Some of these accounts may use payable on death instead of beneficiaries, but the meaning is essentially the same.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Utah be Compensated?

An executor of an estate may receive compensation for the time they spend on managing the estate. They may also be entitled to reimbursement for any expenses they paid out of pocket if it is allowable and approved by the court.

How Much Does an Executor in Utah Get Paid?

Compensation is dealt with in the Utah Uniform Probate Code in Title 75 Chapter 3 Part 7, which lists the duties and powers of the personal representative. The code states that the representative will be entitled to reasonable compensation. What is determined to be reasonable is based on the amount of time and value of the services provided. If any objections are made by an interested party, the court will determine compensation.

How Long Does Probate Take in Utah?

The length of time for probate varies widely based on size of the estate, whether you’re using formal or informal probate and whether you chose to notify the creditors. If you mailed a notice directly to creditors, they have 60 days to file a claim. If the notification was published, creditors have up to 90 days. If no notice was given, the creditors may submit a claim up to one year. Most estates will take at least six months to be finished, but it can take well over a year. If there are delays, expect the timeline to lengthen significantly.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Utah?

Most estates will need to go through the probate process in Utah. However, the state does allow for a few exceptions. Instead of formal probate, they may use an affidavit to access assets. This is allowable as long as the value of the property is below $100,000 and there is no real estate involved.

There is also informal and formal probate with informal being allowed as long as all parties are in agreement. While the estate must still go through probate, it takes less time with less court oversight than in a formal probate process.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Utah?

In Utah, a will must be filed with the court. It is filed in the county where the decedent lived prior to their death. The purpose of filing the will is to have a record of the decedent’s wishes. The court may need to validate the will if anyone contests it.

Settling an Estate in Utah

The steps to settle an estate through probate in Utah are much the same as in any other state. They sound simple, but they can be time-consuming and complex, especially with larger estates.

While probate sounds like a straightforward process, it can be quite complicated.

How Long Do You Have to File After a Death in Utah?

The Utah Code allows for probate to be filed up to three years after a person’s death. If it has been longer than the allowed time, a special process will need to be followed.

Probate Court in Utah

In Utah, the district courts handle probate cases. There are eight districts in the state with 71 judges. You can visit the Utah Courts website to find the webpage for each district. You can also locate the judicial district where the estate needs to be probated from the map on the Utah Courts website: Map of Courts & Judicial Districts – Utah Courts (

Probate Code in Utah

Utah has outlined rules regarding probate in Title 75 of the Utah Uniform Probate Code. You can find the code online at the Utah State Legislature website: Utah Code Title 75.