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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

A visit with a recent client reminded me of the basic questions that many individuals have when it comes to completing a probate in Idaho. Having practiced as an Idaho Estate Planning and probate attorney for nearly 20 years, I sometimes take for granted the fact that I understand the probate process, but my clients do not. In order to give you an understanding of completing a probate in Idaho below are the five most common questions that clients ask me when it comes to Idaho probate.

When is a Probate Required in Idaho?

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney for nearly 20 years I can tell you with some confidence that I have had many meetings with clients where I have talked with them about the fact that their estate planning is about them, and not about the people they are giving their property, money, or other assets to after they die. For some reason, my clients have this belief that when they create their estate plan it has to somehow be fair to all the people that they name who will receive gifts from them. This is particularly true when we are talking about children.

In order to help my clients understand that they do not in fact have to be fair, I usually tell them the following three things:

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney for over 20 years I’ve seen my share of horror stories when it comes to dealing with client’s estate planning, or lack of estate planning and how this affects their family and loved ones after they pass away. Based on these experiences I find that my role as an estate planning attorney is to guide my clients in a way that will help them avoid these kinds of problems. To motivate my clients I help them understand how expensive estate planning mistakes can be for them and for their loved ones after they pass away. If you have gone to the trouble to create your own customized estate plan you want to make sure that it actually will do for you what you want it to do.

Below is a list of the three biggest Idaho estate planning mistakes that I come across regularly. Usually these mistakes are found after a person has passed away. When that occurs, it’s usually too late to fix those mistakes. However, by understanding what these mistakes are while you are alive, you have the ability to take steps to make sure that none of these mistakes happen in your own estate planning.

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By Lane Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

After working as an Idaho estate planning attorney for nearly 20 years I can tell you that I am passionate about estate planning. I’ve seen the many ways that it can help individuals and families avoid problems. For this reasons, I believe that everyone should have a valid Estate Plan in place. Once a person has gone to the trouble of creating an estate plan, the should then do everything they can to keep their Estate Plan updated. While this makes sense I find that my clients don’t really know when they should update their Estate Planning documents. To help my clients, and now to help you, here is a specific list of 5 events that could happen during your life that should cause you to review and possible update your Estate Planning documents.

  1. Someone Being Born
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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Idaho is a unique state that offers many opportunities for family members to complete a probate for their loved ones after they have passed away. Like most states, Idaho does have a statute of limitations for the amount of time that can go by before a probate can be completed. Under normal circumstances, this is three years after the individual has passed away. As a result of this, if a person has a last will and testament, but a probate is not completed within 3 years, this last will and testament will no longer be considered valid. However, there is one exception to this three-year statute of limitations that exists for spouses.

This exception is best described in the recent Idaho Supreme Court case In the Matter of the Estate of Robert Ernest Melton and Hedwig “Hedy” Melton, which came out in January 2018. The main issue in this case is whether a creditor’s claim could still be made beyond the three-year period of time for the first spouse who passed away. However, in the course of making the decision on that issue, the Idaho Supreme Court provided a good analysis of the exception that exists to the three-year statute of limitations for filing a probate for someone who dies.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In 1890, a famous English archaeologist named William Flinders Petrie discovered the world’s oldest last will and testament among the Egyptian pyramids. This document was written on a parchment/papyrus paper like substance and was originally dated to have been created 2500 BC. It was later determined that this will was actually created in 1797 BC and refers to the creator of the Will whose name is Ankr-ren. It is also interesting to note that there were two witnesses to this Will.

Ankr-ren described himself to be a devoted servant of the superintendent of works where the pyramids were built. In his Will, Ankr-ren gives all of his property to his brother Uah, with instructions that forbids Uah from demolishing any of the houses given through his Will.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

It’s never easy when a spouse passes away. When this happens, the surviving spouse usually doesn’t know what to do. Whenever this occurs, and a surviving spouse comes to me for advice, my goal is to assist them in the easiest and simplest way possible. The good news is that for a surviving spouse there are several options when it comes to probate. Specifically, Idaho law gives a surviving spouse and opportunity to avoid a regular probate if they choose. A surviving spouse can opt to complete a summary Administration rather than a full and regular probate.

The purpose of this blog is to describe what an Idaho Summary Administration is, and to discuss when and where this would be a good option for a surviving spouse. By providing this information my hope is to help surviving spouses in Idaho determine whether they want to complete a regular probate or complete the Summary Administration instead.

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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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