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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

I love living in Idaho. Not only is it a picturesque and beautiful state it also has very favorable laws when it comes to estate planning and probate. Additionally, the costs for getting these things done is lower than just about any other state.

Having been an estate planning and probate attorney for more than 20 years, I’ve completed my fair share of probates. I am also licensed in Utah and have had an opportunity to become familiar with the estate planning and probate laws of several surrounding states. Because of this, I can tell you with certainty, that Idaho is a special place.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for over 20 years I have heard all the excuses when it comes estate planning. However, the biggest myth that exists and the one that I hear regularly is that a person feels like they don’t need to get an estate plan done. I suppose if that person has a crystal ball and has a perfect view of what their future holds this may be true. However, without a crystal ball, or some other way of knowing exactly what your future is going to be like, then I would suggest to you that your future is uncertain. The uncertainties of life are exactly why you should get your estate planning done.

It is possible that at some point in your future you may lose the ability to make decisions for yourself about your money, property, and other assets as well. This could come in the form of an illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of Dementia or it could be the result of an injury. Making decisions about your stuff, is the main function of a durable power of attorney document while you are alive. This document gives you the ability to name somebody who will take care of these things for you, if you can no longer do that for yourself.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for over 20 years, I can tell you that each of my clients had concerns and questions about creating their own estate plan. Perhaps the most important question these clients discuss with me is who they should name as the guardians of their children, if they were to die at a time when their children are still young.

Idaho law allows a parent to nominate one or more guardians for their minor aged children in their last will and testament. A nomination made by a parent in this way has the highest priority of appointment by the courts.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Like most people, I’m often asked what I do for a living. When I tell people that I am an estate planning attorney, the most common response I hear is, “I really need to get my estate planning done.” In other words, most people recognize that estate planning is important, but they do not actually get it done. I’ve thought about this a lot and wondered why it is that most people do not get their estate planning done. I am pretty sure I know the answer.

Like most things, when it comes to estate planning, people don’t get it done because they don’t know how to start. Let’s face it, if estate planning was easy for everyone to understand and do then everyone would already have it done. For most people it’s not easy because they don’t know what they need to do.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

I sometimes use this blog to list and answer questions that come up from my clients. Having been an Idaho estate planning attorney now for over 20 years I find that some questions come up frequently. One of the regular questions that I am asked is whether a person can list a child or someone else on the deed to their home as a survivor. In other words, in an effort to avoid probate, my clients want to know if they can have a deed that will transfer the real estate on their death to another individual.

Probate is required in Idaho anytime a person dies when their name is listed on the deed or title to any type of real estate. The real estate could be a home, or farm ground, or just bare ground. Regardless of what it is, and regardless of its value, if a person’s name is listed on the deed to that property and they pass away, then a probate is required to give someone else the authority to transfer that real property from the person’s estate after their death.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

While awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive in his jail cell. He was pronounced dead on August 10, 2019, at 6:39 am and his death was ruled a suicide. Prior to his death, he had been investigated for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, and pleaded guilty to those charges to avoid persecution of an additional 36 girls who were identified. Through his conviction he became a registered sex offender but did very little time other than 13 months with extensive work release.

Epstein was arrested a second time on July 6, 2019 under the federal court system for charges of sex trafficking minors in both Florida and New York. Both before and after his death more than 50 alleged victims filed suit against Jeffrey Epstein and against his estate which is estimated to be valued at $634 million.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

I love being an estate planning attorney because I find that I can help individuals make a plan for every possible aspect of their lives. In fact, sometimes when people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I provide sleep insurance. When I say this, most people look at me funny. This gives me an opportunity to clarify that I am actually an estate planning attorney and that because of the work I do people are able to sleep well at night knowing that they and their family are protected through a well-thought-out plan.

A basic estate plan would include a last will and testament, providing a person with the ability to decide who they want to give their money, property, and other assets to after they have died. It also includes a durable power of attorney and a power of attorney for healthcare. These documents give a person the ability to protect themselves while they are alive and make sure that they will be cared for and that their estate will be protected and used for their benefit. Additionally, we provide a living will which gives an individual the ability to make end-of-life decisions and provide specific instructions to their healthcare providers. Depending on a person’s circumstances we may also provide one or more trusts as part of their estate plan.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In an ideal world you would have your estate planning done when you can truly think about the things that you want to accomplish and do. In other words, you don’t have to rush to get it done. However, we often find that life is not ideal. In other words, sometimes emergencies come up and things need to be taken care of quickly in order to make sure that they are done right.

A medical emergency is one of those situations. You often can’t plan for these types of things, but if you have been thoughtful, hopefully you are ready.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In many ways, the Coronavirus has changed the way we live life. A good number of people are now working from home remotely. Additionally, many people are avoiding grocery stores and shopping online for groceries and are having in-home entertainment through streaming services rather than going to the movie theater. The bottom line is our daily lives and the things we do are not the same as they used to be.

The good news is, when it comes to estate planning and probate work, nothing has really changed. It’s true that we are having fewer in-person meetings with clients. Rather than doing face-to-face meetings, we are now doing more phone conferences and video conferences than ever before. However, when it comes to completing a probate, things are pretty much the same as they’ve always been. In other words, it is possible and easy to move forward with a probate during the Coronavirus pandemic.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Over my 20-plus year career as an estate planning attorney I have had several clients come to me wanting to know if they can do something different than what the Will or Trust says is supposed to be done that was left by their parent, or their spouse, or by some other family member or loved one who has passed away. In other words, they want to know if they are strictly bound by the Will or Trust they are faced with.

The answer is most likely yes, however, it is possible that they may be able to change the distribution or plans that are set forth in a Will or Trust through Idaho’s TEDRA statutes. TEDRA is an acronym that stands for the Idaho Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act. TEDRA is designed to be used by individuals both when a dispute arises and when there is no dispute. Despite its name, the statute itself specifically holds that there doesn’t have to be an actual dispute in order for TEDRA to apply under certain circumstances. Additionally, the idea behind this statute is to provide a non-judicial resolution (which means no court litigation) between persons that arise in an estate administration to save time and money. The statute is found at Idaho Code §§ 15-8-101 et seq.

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