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By Lane Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Probate is the process where a person’s last will and testament, and all the instructions that are contained therein, are carried out by the person who is appointed as the personal representative or executor. Because the world is full of interesting people, there are usually interesting stories about things that happened during probate or things that are written into a last will and testament. After 20 years of working as an Idaho estate planning attorney I have come across and have collected some of these interesting stories.

The following comes from an internet story posted on June 3, 2009, by Marge Floori with the Weekly World News.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Just to prove the fact that lawyers like good humor as much as everyone else, I’ve included some unique and funny stories and jokes about estate planning. Even though they are meant to be humorous, lessons about the importance of Estate Planning and the role a good estate planning attorney can play in that process can be learned from these jokes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune. One evening at an investment club meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away. “I may look like just an ordinary man,” he said to her, “but in just a few years, my father will die, and I’ll inherit 20 million dollars.” Impressed, the woman obtained his business card. Three days later, she became his stepmother.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Those that don’t learn from the mistakes of those around them are bound to repeat those same mistakes themselves. I’m often amazed by how interested society is in the lives of the rich and famous. I suppose we all daydream about being rich and famous ourselves and what living a life like that must be like. Well I am not personally interested in the lives of celebrities, I do find it helpful to review the things that they have done when it comes to estate planning. Most particularly I find it useful to discover mistakes that can be avoided by regular people as well.

The purpose of this article is to list several famous people who either made some serious estate planning mistakes or did things exactly right. By doing this, I will help educate you about how you can avoid making estate planning mistakes for yourself.

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By, Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for nearly 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of different individuals and creating their personal estate plans. Sometimes I have clients who want to do some interesting things with their last will and testament. I will say however I have not yet had anybody come to me with any of what I would call crazy ideas.

Having said that, my research recently led me to an article that was published by The Guardian in August of 2015. This article listed what it called Ten of the Strangest Wills of All Time. Here are a few of the entries that were listed in this article:

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

For nearly 2o years, I have been lucky enough to work at the Racine law office, which I considered to be the premier Idaho estate planning law firm. At this law office, the team of knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorneys has assisted clients for over 70 years in meeting all of their unique and individual estate planning needs.

Given my current age, I can tell you from both professional and personal experience that every individual needs to complete their own estate plan to provide protections for themselves while they are alive and to care for their family and loved ones after they pass away. The purposes of estate planning are far greater than simply giving away your property to other individuals after you die. Rather estate planning is designed to provide the ultimate protection for you and for your family too.

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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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