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A Simple Checklist for Your Boise Estate Planning

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

When most people talk to me about getting their estate planning done, they always ask about the simplest way to determine what it is they need to accomplish. In other words, people want a simple checklist they can follow to know that they are considering the most important things when they are getting their estate planning done. To help our clients, we offer an Estate Planning Questionnaire that provide simple steps to assist our clients along the path of getting their estate planning done.

As the premier Boise estate planning attorneys, our team at the Racine Law Firm includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorney Dave Bagley. Each attorney on our Boise estate planning team has earned the highest rankings and reviews possible from past clients and from several legal rating services including Justia, Martindale & Hubbell, and AVVO. Our team of Boise estate planning attorneys have the expertise and knowledge to benefit each of our clients specifically and individually.

Sometimes, even after reviewing our Estate Planning Questionnaire, our clients want the concept of getting their estate planning done to be even more simple. To help our clients the simplest checklist we can give to them involves the three P's which include the papers, the planning, and the people in your life. Below are three questions that involve the three P's that may help you in getting your Boise estate planning completed.

Do I Have My Papers Organized?

The first question that you should think about as part of your estate planning checklist is to make sure that all of your papers are organized and are in order. When we talk about "papers" what we mean is all of your important papers. Most people identify their "important papers" to include Deeds to their property, accounts for their banks and retirement accounts, the policies for their life insurance, their vehicle titles and documentation, and any other important documents such as prenuptial agreements or other important contracts.

These important papers could also include more modern things as well such as digital assets. These digital assets might involve account and login information for your social media accounts, email accounts, online banking, PayPal accounts, credit cards, and other important online activities that you are involved in.

You might also include in your important papers Specific Instructions that you want to leave to your family and loved ones about what your final wishes are for your funeral and burial, handling and dealing with your pets, and other information that might be helpful for your family and loved ones in locating your assets, money, and or other property. By having all of your important papers organized and easy for your family to locate, you will save your family and loved ones a good deal of time and work and you will likely have your final wishes carried out.

Do I Have the Right Planning Done?

The second important P on the simple checklist for your Boise estate planning is whether you actually have your planning completed. It really doesn't matter whether you have your important documents organized and in place if your Boise estate plan is not completed. By not completing your Boise estate planning you are allowing the statutes in Idaho to create a default estate plan for you that will likely distribute your money, property, and assets in a way that will be different than you would want.

Even a basic Boise estate plan includes a well-thought-out and written last will and testament, a durable power of attorney to protect your property and finances, a power of attorney for your health care, and a living will. Additionally, depending on your circumstances, you may also need to create a guardianship for your minor aged children, a Minor's trust for young children, or additional trusts for yourself.

With even these basic estate planning documents in place, you will avoid your family potentially fighting over your money and other assets, and you will have a plan in place for yourself that will protect you while you are alive. The most important purpose of estate planning is to give you the ability to specifically write out your instructions and wishes. When done correctly, the law requires that the intent of your written estate planning instructions and wishes be carried out.

Have I Considered the People in My Life?

The third and final P on the three P estate planning checklist, requires you to think about and include the people in your life as part of your estate planning. When it comes to your voice the estate plan, there really are only two kinds of people that you need to think about. The first kind of person is those you want to have named as you are beneficiaries. The second kind of person are those people that you want to have named to fulfill a specific appointment in your estate plan.

Beneficiaries include the people you list in your estate plan who will receive your money, assets, and property after you die. The reason why you need to keep these people in your mind is because these people may change over time. Life is not static, there are always changes that are happening to us. These changes may include things such as marriage, the birth of a child, divorce, the death of a loved one, and other things as well. Because of this, the important people in our lives, which are usually the people we name is our beneficiaries in her estate planning, could change over time. By simply reviewing your estate planning you will be able to see if the beneficiaries you have made now need to be changed or updated.

The second group of people that we mentioned above are those that you want to have name to fulfill specific appointment as part of your estate planning. For example, you will need to appoint somebody to be your personal representative after you pass away. While you are alive, you will likely have a durable power of attorney where you will need to appoint somebody to take care of your money and property for you while you are alive, if you are no longer are able to do this for yourself. Additionally, if you have young children you may be naming a guardian for them if something were to happen to you and your spouse. Finally, depending on your estate planning needs, you may appoint one or more trustees to carry out and fulfill the terms and conditions of any trust that you create in your estate planning.

As with beneficiaries, because our lives change rapidly, it may be necessary for you to update the appointments that you make as part of your Boise estate planning. The most important thing for you always is to know that the people you have appointed are able and willing to carry out the appointment you have named them to. If you find that the circumstances of the lives of the people you have named have changed, it may be important for you to update your own estate planning and make a different appointment.

Enlist a Boise Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Boise Estate Planning lawyers can help you. Whether you are seeking to create or review your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and help you solve your Boise Estate Planning problems.

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