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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Charles Manson was a criminal in America who is commonly known as a cult leader. In the late 1960s he formed what many people knew as the Manson Family which was a quasi-commune located in California. In July and August of 1969 Manson’s followers committed a series of nine murders at his instructions. In 1971 Charles Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and the conspiracy to commit murder for the death of 7 people. Manson was sent to prison in April of 1971. Manson had several parole hearings during his lifetime but each time his petition for parole was rejected.

Manson died while incarcerated on November 19, 2017. According to My News LA.com, “a man who says Charles Manson is his father wants a Los Angeles judge to dismiss the claims of two others competing with him for probate of the estate of the late mass murderer.”

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning has been around as long as people have lived on the Earth. For nearly 20 years I have focused my legal practice towards estate planning so that I could help individuals and families be both prepared and protected not only when they die but also during their lifetime. By having at least a basic estate plan in place, I have seen families avoid unnecessary fights, expenses, and the destruction of family relationships.

While reading through several estate planning articles recently I came across several quotes having to do with estate plans. Here are four quotes that I found cause me to think more about estate planning personally. My hope is that these quotes will get you thinking about estate planning and also help you in deciding to complete your estate planning for yourself and for your loved ones.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

After nearly 20 years as an estate planning attorney I’ve come to learn that when it comes to estate planning everyone makes mistakes. This is no more apparent than when a celebrity passes away. The reason for this is that everyone is interested to know who the celebrity’s wealth and potential continuing stream of income will go to now that they have passed away. This becomes even more interesting when there is a dispute or fight between two or more potential heirs or recipients of the estate.

Famed singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin recently passed away on August 16th, 2018, at the age of 76. Her situation, and her lack of estate planning, highlight the need for all of us to make sure that our own personal estate planning is complete, and is up-to-date.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having practiced Idaho estate planning law now for nearly 20 years I am passionate about my belief that everyone needs a good estate plan. Whether you are young or old, whether you are married or single, and whether you have heirs or not, Idaho estate planning includes far more than just a plan for giving away your money, property, and assets to someone else. Rather, the entire focus and goal of estate planning is to do two specific things for you: (1) protect you while you are alive; and (2) provide a plan for you to distribute your belongings to someone else after you die.

While it’s not common, every once in a while, I do have a client tell me that they have no heirs. Based on this these clients believe that there really is no purpose to their getting their own personal estate planning done. Here are the three reasons I tell people that they should still get their estate planning done even when they have no heirs.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Through my experiences as an Idaho estate planning attorney over the last 20 years, I have occasionally had instances where people want to challenge the last will and testament that was left by their parent, or some other family member or loved one. Often, these individuals will tell me they are sure their mom or dad would not have had that kind of a last will and testament. They are positive that their mom or dad was coerced into signing the document. They may even actually have some proof or witnesses to say that in fact there was some coercion or undue influence over their parent that caused their parent to sign their will.

The Idaho Supreme Court has addressed the issue of undue influence when it comes to a last will and testament. According to the Idaho Supreme Court “a will may be held invalid on the basis of undue influence where sufficient evidence is presented indicating that the testator’s free agency was overcome by another.” In re Estate of Roll, 115 Idaho 797, 799 770 P.2d 806, 808 (1989). Additionally, the Idaho Supreme Court has stated that “undue influence is demonstrated through proof of four elements: (1) a person who is subject to undue influence; (2) an opportunity to exert undue influence; (3) a disposition to exert undue influence; and (4) a result indicating undue influence occurred.” Gmeiner v. Yacte, 100 Idaho 1, 607, 592 P.2d 57, 62-63 (1979).

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I HAVE AN ARBITRATION AWARD, NOW WHAT?

By Heidi Buck Morrison

Not every dispute plays out in a courtroom. Sometimes parties resolve their dispute through the process of arbitration. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves the parties bringing their dispute before either a panel of arbiters or a single arbiter. Often times, people choose arbitration for cost and time efficiency as it is usually cheaper and faster than litigation. It can also offer parties more privacy than litigation where documents filed with the court become public record.

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By Lane Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

For nearly 20 years I have been involved in estate planning and helping clients prepare their own personalized estate plans. During this time I have worked with many clients who have indicated to me their concerns about their children. Many times, my clients don’t have good relationships with their children. Sometimes this even includes children who are threatening or abusive towards their parents. In these instances, my clients often want to keep their estate-planning confidential so that their children will not learn what their plan is in distributing their assets after they pass away.

Because a person’s estate planning is their own personal property, they have every right to keep it confidential. Whenever I have a child of a client who wants to get a copy of their parents last will and testament or other estate planning documents, or when children are present when we are discussing these things, I always get permission from my clients before I provide any information or copies of documents to children. I also repeatedly remind my clients that their estate planning is their personal property and they have no obligation to share it with their family at all, including their children, if they choose not to do so.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an Idaho estate planning attorney I am always keeping an eye out for interesting articles about estate planning and how it helps individuals in their lives. I recently came across an article talking about how an older woman in Texas was taken advantage of by the company providing her lawn care service. Apparently, this woman had entered into a contract to pay about $3,600 each year for her lawn care services. However, the owner of the company discovered that this woman was in the beginning stages of dementia. As a result of this he took advantage of her and over charge her for the services provided. Over a five-year period, the services that should have cost just a little over $16,000 were actually charged at a rate of closer to $50,000. Fortunately, this deception was discovere, and the owner of the lawn care services was charged with several crimes. The article I read did not indicate whether he was forced to pay back the money that was taken from this woman.

After reading this article, and several like it, it reinforced eyes to me the importance of having a basic estate plan for each adult. One of the most important documents in a basic estate plan includes a durable power of attorney. Below are three common questions I often get from individuals about a power of attorney and how it can help them in their lives.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In a shocking news report, a 92 year old woman living in Arizona shot and killed her 72 year old son after she learned he wanted to place her in an assisted living facility. According to news agencies Anna Mae Blessing, a 92 year-old resident of Fountain Hills, Arizona, used two handguns to attack and kill her 72 year old son. She also attempted to shoot her son’s girlfriend who was able to save her own life by successfully removing the handguns from Blessing. As reported by the Charlotte Observer:

“This is definitely an odd one,” Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Bryant Vanegas told news agencies. “There’s a lot of circumstances surrounding it, of course, but it’s definitely something you don’t see every day and it’s very unfortunate that this took place.” Police responded to the home and found Blessing sitting in a recliner, and arrested her there after she continued to refuse to follow their orders, police said in a probable cause statement filed with the Court.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Believe me, I totally get it. Most children do not want to butt into the private lives of their parents. Additionally, even when problems begin to exist, both parents and children are often in denial. The problem is that everyone ages, and as they do they lose the ability to do the things that they were once able to do before. This can include taking care of themselves or their spouse.

The good news is that there are actually things you can do to determine if your parents need help. Additionally, there are things you can do to actually help your parents when they need it. But let’s not get the cart before the horse here. Below are ways that you can determine if you need to provide your parents with some help. Additionally, you will see suggestions on things that you can do that will specifically help your parents.

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