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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for 20 years, I’m always on the lookout for interesting news and stories that I can use as an example to help my clients avoid serious problems when it comes to their own estate planning. The most recent story that I’ve learned of that is interesting and helpful is that of Aretha Franklin, who was known as the queen of soul.

Aretha Franklin died of cancer in August of 2018 at the age of 76. Her longtime personal attorney stated that he had been after her for a number of years to get her estate planning done including a written will. She was extremely private about her own finances and never consulted her personal attorney about getting her estate planning done. In fact, shortly after her death it was reported that she had no estate planning completed and that her estate would have to be distributed pursuant to the intestate laws that applied. However, it’s recently come to light that she did in fact have a written last will and testament. In fact, it appears that she had three of them. The problem is, that none of these Wills was created by a lawyer.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Business Lawyer

Real life involves contracts. In fact, even if you never actually talk to, use or even see a lawyer, it’s still likely that you have several contracts in your life that you are a party to right now while you are reading this article. Additionally, if you are involved in any type of business operation it’s likely that contracts are a regular part of your life and business.

It’s not uncommon that when people find out what I do for a living they start asking me questions about contracts that they are dealing with as part of their life. It could be a rental agreement, or it could be a contract for the purchase of a home or a car. I have also had people ask me questions about the student loan contract that they are dealing with and trying to pay off, or the credit card collection notice that causes them to ask me about their contracts. Regardless of what type of contract it is, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “Am I bound by the contract I signed?”

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an attorney who has practiced Idaho estate planning and probate law for the last 20 years I am always interested in stories about families and individuals when it comes to their estate planning. Often these new stories include celebrities who have either done something really well or have made some terrible mistake in their estate planning that was only discovered after they passed away and that resulted in serious problems for those who are left behind. However, every once in a while a different kind of story is reported on. Recently I read the news about the well-known movie director John Singleton. At a young age he wrote the screenplay for and then later directed the movie Boyz n the Hood for which he became both the first African American and the youngest person to have ever been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director.

As it turns out, at the age of 51, Mr Singleton suffered a stroke which ended up requiring him to be placed on life support. The main reason the story caught my attention was because it contained an announcement by his family that they had made the decision to take him off life support and that they didn’t expect that he would live afterwards. In fact, Mr Singleton did pass away shortly after life support was removed.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In an ideal world everyone would get along swimmingly and there would be no contentions, or fights, or disagreements. In an ideal world our relationships with others would be excellent, and there would be no individual problems such as disabilities or addictions. The problem is we don’t live in an ideal world. Rather, we live in the real world which means that there are issues and problems with relationships and individuals as well. Because of these things, it is often necessary for a parent or other family member to write someone out of there will.

For over 20 years I have assisted individuals in the creation of their own customized estate planning documents including their last will and testament. There have been many instances where I have worked with my clients to write someone out of their will. Not all circumstances are the same. There have been a number of reasons that I have assisted client in accomplishing this. Sometimes my clients simply do it out of spite. However, the purpose of this article is to describe some of the legitimate reasons a person may want to write someone out of their will.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for the last 20 years one of the great things I get to do is keep up with and read news about celebrities who either have or have not successfully completed their own estate planning. Most often, I read articles about the estate planning mistakes that were made by celebrities. However, every once in a while I get the opportunity to learn from the good choices that were made by celebrities as they created their own estate plan. This is the case when it comes to famous rapper Nipsey Hussle.

Nipsey Hussle, the 33 year old Grammy-nominated rapper and entrepreneur was fatally shot outside his clothing store in March 2019. Following his tragic murder, many other celebrities and individuals outside of his own family attempted to create fundraising events and crowdsourcing in order to raise money for the children that he left behind. However, once the family learned of this they specifically contacted these individuals and requested that they not participate or promote any such fundraising. The reason for this was that the family was able to confirm that before he had died, Nipsey Hussle had completed his own estate planning which properly and completely would provide for and take care of the family he left behind.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning and probate attorney in Idaho for over 20 years, one of the most common questions that comes up with clients is what happens when a will is contested? This question comes up in different circumstances and for different reasons. Sometimes this question comes up because my clients are creating their own estate plan and they are worried that one of their family members may try to contest their last will and testament after they pass away. Alternatively, this question sometimes comes up with clients who want to contest the will of a family member who has passed away. It either of these is sought the legal process would be the same.

To explain what would likely occur in the instance of a will contest being made, I often refer to what has been come known as the Eggan’s estate case. This is a case that was decided by the Idaho Supreme on November 1, 1963. [For those of you who have a legal penchant the citation is 86 Idaho 328, or 386 P.2d 563.]

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney in Idaho for 20 years, my practice also often includes assisting family and friends when a loved one has passed away. The assistance that I provide is through the probate process.

Most people don’t have much experience with the Idaho probate process or understand what it is. It’s for this reason that I provide a free 30-minute consultation to explain the probate process, and to answer the questions that my clients have. Part of this free 30-minute consultation includes my providing a diagram of the probate process, and discussing the steps involved, the timeline of the probate process and the costs and expenses that are usually included.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Life can sometimes offer some interesting lessons for us to learn. When it comes to wealth and owning assets, many of us look to celebrities and live our lives vicariously through their wealth, their fame, or the power they have. Sometimes we even think that these individuals have everything figured out and that they don’t make any mistakes in their lives.

Having been an estate planning attorney now for 20 years I can tell you that even the rich and famous sometimes make incredible mistakes when it comes to their estate planning. They make these mistakes for the same reasons that many of us do. We simply aren’t knowledgeable or experienced enough to understand what needs to be done. It’s for this reason that we always recommend that if you are considering getting your estate planning done or if you have had a family member or loved one pass away recently and you are looking at the probate process, you should hire a qualified and experienced Idaho estate planning and probate attorney to assist you and your family. By doing this you can avoid some of the basic mistakes that even celebrities make.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for 20 years, I firmly believe that every individual can benefit from having a least a basic written estate plan. A basic estate planning includes not only a written last will and testament, but also a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. Most people are familiar with a written last will and testament but most people don’t understand or know what the other basic a documents listed above can do for them. It’s for this reason, that this article is dedicated to discussing why every person should have a durable power of attorney as part of their basic estate plan.

To help you understand how important a durable power of attorney could be for you and your family and loved ones, this article will discuss what a durable power of attorney is, how having one can save your family money, and how having one could possibly save your family from having internal disagreements or fights. Hopefully this article will convince you that you too should create your own durable power of attorney.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having practiced estate planning law in Idaho for 20 years I have come to find that the number one concern most people have when it comes to their estate planning is how it will affect or protect or provide for their children. In Idaho, a person is considered an adult if they are 18 years old or older. Anyone who is under this age is considered a minor. Protecting and providing for minor aged children is always an important part of estate planning. Additionally, even though a person may have adult children, they may still have concerns about how their children would handle the money, property, or other assets that they may receive from their estate after they have passed away.

One of the major focuses of estate planning that we assist our clients with is thinking about their children and how their estate planning can help these children. We take the time to go over the circumstances of each of the children our clients have to help our clients understand the choices they have and what they can do to assist their children regardless of their ages. Below are the two most important things that you should consider if you have children and you want to complete or update your estate-planning.

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