Family Law Attorney in Utah
Wills & Trusts Specialized Representation Tailored to Your Goals

Wills & Trusts Attorneys in Salt Lake County

Take Advantage of Estate Planning Tools in Draper & Utah County

Proper estate planning with an experienced attorney ensures your estate is administered according to your wishes. Another key goal of estate planning is to minimize taxes and other expenses, thereby preserving the property intended for your beneficiaries. Failing to create a comprehensive estate plan will likely expose your loved ones to avoidable conflict, expense, and delay. Importantly, an estate plan will reduce the risk of your loved ones competing over the details and property of your estate.

If you need help drafting a will, establishing a trust, or accomplishing any other estate planning goal, you can count on the team at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC in Draper. Our Salt Lake County will and trust attorneys offer client-focused counsel and deliver results-driven representation.

Call (801) 515-4133 or contact us online to request a consultation.

Revocable Trusts

A comprehensive estate plan generally includes a revocable trust (also known as a living trust), a last will and testament, a power of attorney, a health care directive, and property transfer documents.

Many people are unsure about the difference between a will and a trust. Both are methods of ensuring organized estate administration, but the documents function in different ways.

A revocable trust has become a widely used tool because it is a flexible document that grants authority to govern an estate with minimal oversight from courts and other third parties. In addition, a trust can help minimize taxes and protect your family’s privacy during the estate administration process. A primary reason for using a trust is to guarantee that only those you trust have control over how your wishes are implemented.

As with most other estate planning documents, revocable trusts can be amended even after they have been signed. As your family situation changes over the years, it is vital to touch base with your estate planning attorney to confirm your documents continue to reflect your estate planning goals.

An estate plan that incorporates a revocable trust is typically more complex than one relying on a simple will. Therefore, families who would like to take advantage of the benefits of a trust must work closely with an attorney who can guide them through each step of the process, from planning and drafting to execution, funding, and administration.

Last Will & Testament

A last will and testament is one of the most basic documents used to govern the administration of an estate. A will directs how an estate is to be distributed upon death and who should be left in charge of the estate. Our firm commonly recommends using a “pour-over will,” which is a type of will that transfers money or property to a trust. The trust, in this structure, would then act as the primary estate administration document. We usually advise that clients use both a will and a trust to secure and manage their assets.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is created to grant your named agent the power to deal with your assets (including business interests), usually in the event of your incapacity. The power of attorney grants your agent broad powers to manage your affairs, including the disposal, sale, and conveyance of property. In some situations, individuals may need a power of attorney that immediately grants their agent powers regardless of the health or capacity of the principal. In Utah, powers of attorney can be effective in a variety of circumstances, the implications of which should be discussed with an attorney beforehand.

Health Care Directives

An advance health care directive ensures your medical wishes are honored even if you are unable to communicate those wishes to health care providers. This document gives your named agent authority to make major medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The health care directive can include the power to sign consent forms or releases with health care providers. The directive also functions as a living will for end-of-life decisions.

Special Needs Trusts

Physically or mentally disabled persons often depend on important government-funded programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. These and other benefit programs, including programs funded by the State of Utah, often consider an applicant’s assets and/or income when determining eligibility.

A proper estate plan will ensure your beneficiaries receive as much of your estate as possible without jeopardizing their eligibility for these benefit programs. Our will and trust attorneys in Salt Lake County are familiar with the complexities of creating an estate plan that protects the interests of beneficiaries enrolled in such programs. By creating a special needs trust (also known as a supplemental needs trust), we can help you leave assets to your beneficiary in a way that supplements – rather than replaces – the benefits he or she receives from other sources.

Blended Family Estate Plans

At Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC, we understand that each family situation is unique and provides its own opportunities as well as risks. Second marriages require careful estate planning to maintain family harmony after the death of the parents. An estate plan for a blended family requires considering the needs of both parents as well as their children – children from the present marriage in addition to those from previous relationships.

If the parents of a blended family die without an estate plan in place, there is no guarantee the children will receive the share of the estate to which they are entitled. Hiring an attorney to prepare an estate plan can help avoid potential complicating factors that often arise with blended family estate plans.

Asset Protection Trusts

The Utah legislature has enacted a statute that outlines the requirements and benefits of asset protection trusts. Asset protection trusts are especially beneficial for high-net-worth individuals or those vulnerable to lawsuits. Professionals such as physicians and dentists often have a greater need for asset protection trusts and other asset protection strategies.

Unlike standard revocable trusts, asset protection trusts are primarily designed to protect assets from creditors and judgments. Of course, this assumes that the trust is created and maintained in compliance with Utah’s extensive asset protection trust laws.

Pet Trusts

Many people assume that their pet will be taken care of without proper estate planning. Casual agreements with friends or family members to care for pets are rarely enforceable and do not provide the certainty that comes with an estate plan.

Our trust attorneys in Salt Lake County can work with you to ensure that your pet’s needs – including veterinary care, exercise, and boarding – are provided for after you pass away.

Call (801) 515-4133 to learn more about wills and trusts or to schedule a consultation.


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    If it wasn't for Eric and Preston, I wouldn't have gotten custody of my 2 children.

Meet Our Team

Professional. Confident. Approachable.
  • Eric M. Swinyard Photo
    Eric M. Swinyard

    Founding Attorney

    Eric M. Swinyard is a divorce and family law attorney who serves clients throughout the State of Utah. Eric’s practice is primarily focused on providing personalized, high-quality legal services to individuals involved in divorces, paternity actions, adoptions, estate planning, and other family law matters. It’s incredibly easy to be taken advantage of during litigation, especially if you are unrepresented by legal counsel. Protect Your Rights You don’t want to be in a situation where you need ...
  • Ryan  Ficklin Photo
    Ryan Ficklin


    Ryan Ficklin is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Prior to practicing law in Utah, Ryan practiced family law in Southern California. In 2017, Ryan relocated back to his home state of Utah to focus on serving the people of Utah who need legal representation, particularly in the family law realm. Ryan graduated with honors from California’s Whittier Law School in May of 2015. While in law school, Ryan was a staff member for The Journal of Child and Family Advocacy. Ryan ...
  • Keith L. Johnson Photo
    Keith L. Johnson


    Keith joined Eric M. Swinyard & Associates in Fall 2020, bringing more than a decade of experience as a trial attorney in various types of legal cases. He has successfully guided hundreds of individuals through Utah’s court system. Keith previously worked at an established civil litigation firm in Salt Lake as well as a mid-sized regional law firm. He has substantive experience in a variety of practice areas and is now primarily devoted to serving individuals involved in family law cases. Keith ...
  • Mark  Hales Photo
    Mark Hales


    Mark Hales has over 17 years of legal experience in the areas of family, criminal, and civil law. He handles all types of domestic matters, including custody, divorce, child support, alimony, annulment, termination of parental rights, paternity, modifications, and adoptions. In addition, he defends clients charged with domestic violence and abuse, stalking, violations of protective orders, and other and criminal charges. Mark is a certified mediator for all legal matters and is also a certified ...
  • Justin  Stringfellow Photo
    Justin Stringfellow


    Justin Stringfellow has practiced family law in Utah for 20 years, bringing a wealth of experience to Eric Swinyard & Associates in areas such as divorce, custody, paternity, modifications, child support, and adoption proceedings. In the early years of his career, Justin appeared on an estimated 1,500 Protective Order matters. He is an expert in dealing with abuse and domestic violence components in family law matters. As such, he was distinguished by Utah's Domestic Violence Coalition. Justin ...
  • Eliza  Crespo Photo
    Eliza Crespo


    Eliza Crespo is an associate attorney at Eric Swinyard & Associates. Prior to joining the firm, Eliza practiced estate planning in Utah. Eliza offers a fresh set of eyes to difficult situations and is passionate about providing excellent and compassionate legal services to her clients. Through personal experience, she appreciates the impact of a listening ear and an effective advocate, especially during times of challenge or transition. Eliza obtained her bachelor’s degree and law degree from ...

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