Experienced Wills and Trusts Lawyers Serving Clients Throughout Utah

The attorneys of Alder Law Group offer personalized client service in estate planning, probate, asset protection and elder law to clients in Greater Salt Lake City, along the Wasatch Front and around the state. Contact us for a free consultation about your estate planning objectives or your Utah probate needs.

To learn more about the experience, professional interests and community activities of each of our attorneys, see their profiles below.


James P. Alder
James P. Alder

James P. Alder (Jim) was born and raised in Providence, Utah and received his Bachelor of Arts from Utah State University in 1993. Jim graduated from law school at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark School of Law in 1997 and later earned a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental and Natural Resource Law from the University of Utah in 2001. Jim is a member of the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council, the Utah Bar's Estate Planning Section and its Elder Law Section.

Jim is the President of the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer's Association Utah Chapter, where he also assists as that organization's legal counsel. The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. In April 2011, Jim was appointed to the newly created State Alzheimer's Task Force by Governor Gary Herbert to assist in the creation of a state Alzheimer's Plan aimed at minimizing the skyrocketing impacts of this debilitating disease on people, their caregivers and our medical systems.

Jim also serves on the Board of Directors of Kostopolous Dream Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through the medium of recreation and leisure education. The Foundation's longest running program, Camp Kostopulos, accredited by the American Camp Association, is a residential summer camp where kids, teens, and adults with disabilities are able to choose from two options a five day residential camp or travel trips.

Jim has frequently appeared on the radio show "Wall Street Meets Main Street" on KTTK 630 AM. In January 2011, Jim was recognized by Utah Business Magazine as one of their Utah Legal Elite. A requested lecturer for National Business Institute and private groups on a variety of topics including family wealth planning and asset protection of inheritances, Jim enjoys educating his community. Jim has chosen to concentrate on the Trusts and Estates area because he is passionate about helping families create happy and secure futures.

However, Jim's greatest passion in life is his family. He enjoys outdoor activities of many types, including biking, climbing, skiing and hiking, and wishes that he could spend much more time camping.

Jim is a member of the WealthCounsel, LLC, ( The WealthCounsel, LLC, is a cooperative alliance of nationally recognized estate planning attorney members from across the country. 

Together, they provide one another with the support and tools needed to serve their clients better. Being a member of the WealthCounsel, LLC, means that we are in close contact with other member attorneys nationwide in our mutual attempts to:
·         Better serve our clients in a caring and professional manner.
·         Stay absolutely cutting-edge in our respective knowledge of estate planning law and innovative estate planning techniques.
·         Share practice ideas with one another — as we develop them independently in our practices — that will better accomplish our clients' objectives.
·         Bring our clients the finest estate planning advice and documentation possible, and to do so with dignity and professionalism within the ethics of our profession.

Utah Legal Elite WealthCounsel




Hugh Cawthorne
Hugh Cawthorne, Of Counsel

Hugh was born and educated in England. He practiced and taught Tax, Wills and Trusts in the Midlands as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales for more than twenty years before relocating to Tucson, Arizona. There he taught international law and was a founding partner in the estate planning law firm of Taylor & Cawthorne for 20 years. Hugh and his wife relocated to Salt Lake City three years ago. He presently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law, where he teaches an advanced estate planning course. He will continue to focus his law practice on estate planning, taxation, business planning and international law.

Hugh is also a member of the Utah State Bar's Estate Planning Section and the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council. He is listed as a preeminent lawyer by Martindale- Hubbell's international legal directory and was recently nominated as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He provides a wealth of experience, particularly in advanced planning and business techniques. Hugh's interests include assisting individuals, corporations and foundations with tax-efficient charitable giving, music, tennis, golf, his three sons and his six grandchildren.


Debbie Robb
Jeff Matsen

Over the past 30 years, Mr. Matsen has provided legal services to a myriad of individuals and business entities in setting up and organizing partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies and drafting the various legal documents relative thereto. In this regard, Mr. Matsen is intimately familiar with buy/sell agreements, shareholder agreements, buying and selling businesses, business dissolutions and representing public companies. Mr. Matsen also has an extensive background in taxation, real estate, estate planning, probate and asset protection law and setting up and representing international businesses. He has represented a multitude of both individual and business clients with respect to business and real estate transactions and has prepared hundreds of sophisticated estate plans.

Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Matsen was employed as an associate attorney by the Los Angeles law firm of Musick, Peeler & Garrett. After serving a three-year tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate and Military Judge with the rank of Captain, Mr. Matsen joined the Newport Beach law firm of Westover, Currey & Matsen in 1971. When that firm was dissolved in 1976, he established his own practice. From October 1999 to December of 2000, Mr. Matsen was employed as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Universal Broadband Networks where he was responsible for the preparation and filing of the entire Application process resulting in a listing on the NASDAQ National Market and oversaw every aspect of the Company's legal and SEC matters. Mr. Matsen has been a Professor of Law at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton where he taught for more than 16 years. He has also been a faculty member for the Golden Gate University Graduate School of Taxation and Adjunct Professor of Law at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. He has lectured extensively before professional and lay groups and is the author of the Chapter, "Formulating Buy/Sell Agreements and Valuing Closely Held Stock" in the wildly circulated Mathew Bender Publication, California Closely Held Corporations. He is the co-author of Selecting and Forming Business Entities in California, Family Limited Partnerships, and Partnerships, LLCs and LLPs: Organization and Operation published by Lorman Education Services and Asset Protection Techniques in California published by the National Business.

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