By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney
During my 17 years as an Idaho Estate Planning attorney, I have helped numerous people create their Idaho Estate Plan or have answered their Idaho Estate Planning questions. While an Idaho Estate Plan created for one person may not be right for another, there appear to be a number of similar questions that always arise. Here are the three main questions that usually come up when discussing Idaho Estate Planning with clients.
1. Do I Really Need an Estate Plan?
The most common question I am asked by my clients is whether they really need an estate plan. It is my core belief that every adult needs an Estate Plan. While a part of Estate Planning is about property, there is much more to it than that.
Imagine for a moment that you suddenly have a stroke or are involved in an accident that incapacitates you. Do you have a plan on who will take care of you during your incapacity? For example, do you have a plan on who will access your bank accounts, transact your business for you, pay your bills, and handle any other normal activity that you would take care of yourself, if you could? A major part of Estate Planning is to plan not only for your death, and the passing of your property to others, but also for any incapacity that could occur to you during your lifetime.
2. How Much Will An Estate Plan Cost Me?
The next most common question I am asked is how much creating an Estate Plan will cost. While there is no set amount, usually an Idaho attorney can quote a flat fee for creating an Idaho Estate Plan before any work is begun. This way you will know exactly how much it’s going to cost you to get your Idaho Estate Plan done before you even start.
Typically the costs range anywhere from about $600 up to about $2,500 for basic Idaho Estate Planning which may or may not include a Living Trust. If an estate is more complex, involves many properties, and/or includes businesses, then the costs will likely be more.
Many people are scared of these prices. However, I often remind my clients that if they fail to complete their own Idaho Estate Plan the costs may be much higher later. For example if you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney in place and suddenly become incapacitated, your family will be required to complete guardianship proceedings before any individual has authority to act on your behalf. Guardianship proceedings, which will usually involve at least two or more attorneys, medical evaluations and court hearings, can easily cost much, much more than $2,500. Also, if your family is forced to do this you are still only completing a small portion of your Estate Planning rather than getting it all done at once.
The short answer is that yes Idaho Estate Planning does cost money. Additionally, Idaho Estate Planning can seem expensive depending on the type of Estate Plan you create. However, creating an Idaho Estate Plan before there are problems is far less expensive than creating it after the problems arise.
3. Can I Use an Online Form for My Estate Planning?
An additional question I am often asked by my clients is whether they can find a kit or program online to help them create their Idaho Estate Plan. It’s true that there are numerous kits or programs online that offer these services. However, getting an online Idaho Estate Plan is risky. Idaho has certain statutory requirements for a Last Will and Testament to be valid. The same is true for a Durable Power of Attorney. I have had several clients come in showing me the plans they received online asking whether they are valid in Idaho. I’ve had the responsibility to tell them that in fact their online plan is not valid in Idaho and will have to be redone in order to be valid.
It is my belief that it is far easier and more effective to meet with a competent Idaho Estate Planning attorney and have a customized Idaho Estate Plan created for you and your family before any problems arise. This is far more effective than getting an online estate plan kit and then hoping that what you have created is adequate and valid in Idaho.
If you have any questions about your Idaho estate planning, please contact us. We would be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss your Idaho Estate Planning needs and see if there is anything we can do to help you customize your Idaho Estate Plan for you and your family.
Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.
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