Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
The American Board Of Certification:

Basic Requirements for a Valid Will in Idaho

With over 70 years of experience in creating custom Idaho estate plans for our clients, we are familiar with the basic requirements for a Last Will and Testament to be valid in Idaho. Our goal is to customize each last will and testament for each client so that their particular goals and intentions are met. In doing so, we keep in mind the legal requirements in Idaho for that Last Will and Testament to be valid.

Our team of experienced Idaho Estate Planning attorneys Who regularly write wills and other important estate planning documents, includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of the estate planning lawyers on our team have received the highest ratings for their ethics and legal abilities in helping their clients reach their goals. We don't use a cookie cutter approach. Our goal is to spend time with our clients learning what they want to achieve. We then work to create a customized estate plan that meets our clients objectives.

If you are considering creating a Last Will and Testament in Idaho there are some basic guidelines that you should know about and that should be included in your written document. These are:

1. Identifying Yourself and Your Family

The first and most important thing that you should know about getting your last will and testament done correctly is that you need to properly identify yourself and your family members. This seems fairly simple but you'd be surprised how often individuals who attempt to write their own wills make mistakes about these things.

A person should use their full legal name to identify themselves. It is also advisable that they list where they live by city and county. A person should also list the full legal name of their spouse, and whether their spouse is living at the time the last will and testament is signed. The next group of people that should be identified are family members, which mainly includes children. Children should be listed by their full legal names as well so there is no confusion about who is being discussed. This is particularly true if there are individuals who have the same name with the designation junior or senior or the III or so forth in their name.

2. Listing Specific Assets That You Want to go to Specific People

The next thing that must be included in a last will and testament is a specific description of the gifts that are given to specific people. Consider for a moment that you want to give your car to a specific child. If you only own one car, then this is not a problem. However if you own more than one car this could create an issue. It is far better to be specific about the car that you are giving. For example if a parent has a son named Charlie and a grandson named Charlie, the sentence “I hereby gift my 1997 Ford Mustang to my son, Charles Edward Brown Junior,” is far better than, “I give my car to Charlie.”

3. Disinheriting a Person

If you choose to disinherit an individual then you have to be specific about it in writing in your last will and testament. It's not enough to simply leave a person's name out of your last will and testament, especially if they are your child. The law in Idaho indicates that if a parent leaves a child's name out of their will, it is presumed that the parent simply forgot about the child and that the child should still be included in the distribution of the parent’s estate. So if you have decided to disinherit your son Charlie, a sentence should be included such as, “I hereby disinherit my son Charlie who will receive no portion of my estate.”

4. Getting the Validity Details Right

The final thing to understand is that there really are only two valid types of wills in Idaho. The first is a formal written will. This is the type of will you get from an attorney that is typed, has categories, and paragraphs, which help keep the last will and testament organized and easy to read and understand. A formal written will must be witnessed by two specific individuals who are not necessarily related to the individual writing the will. Additionally, a formal written will must be validly notarized.

The job of the witnesses is to testify that they observed the individual signing their last will and testament, that the individual is over the age of 18, and that the individual had capacity and understood what they were doing when they signed their will.

The second type of will that is valid in Idaho is known as a holographic will. In order for this type of will to be valid the main portions of the will must be in the handwriting of the individual making the will. The will must then be signed and dated by that individual. A holographic will does not require witnesses nor does it require a notary to be valid. However most individuals fail to have a valid will when they attempt to do it on their own, simply because they failed in one of these specific requirements.

More importantly, most individuals who attempt to write out their own will don't understand how it should be done, and as a result they use language that is confusing. The entire goal is to provide a plan. If your will is confusing, it may result in individuals in your family fighting through lawsuits to determine what your intention was.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our Idaho estate planning lawyers understand and know all the requirements in order to be able to help you create a valid last will and testament for yourself. Our team is here to help you. Whether you are seeking help with a will for yourself 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 Idaho estate planning problems.

Client Reviews
"When it comes to our business work, we trust Racine Olson.” Premier Technology Inc.
“Randy has been our family’s attorney for many years. I’ve not only retained Randy to help with our family business, but I’ve used Randy and his firm in more than one complicated issues. I’ve never been disappointed.” Shawn - Previous Client
"Pat George, well there is so much I can say…. EXCELLENT lawyer! He leaves no stones unturned. If you are in need of an excellent Lawyer I would highly recommend Pat George. He turned a life threatening accident into a life changing event.” Personal Injury Client
"The attorneys here are just fantastic my dad and I are big fans…they are the best in Pocatello. I have lived in Poky my whole life” Previous Client
“I had been to many other law firms concerning my case. They were willing and able to help me out and I feel confident that they will do what is best for me.” Previous Client
"Fred Lewis is very knowledgeable, courteous, and efficient in explaining everything you need to know to help you win your case. He truly cares about you as a person and is on your side." Workers' Compensation Client