4 Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes in Idaho

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

I truly believe that most people have good intentions. However, as an Idaho estate planning attorney I am often shocked and amazed by individuals who didn’t complete their estate planning before they passed away. More importantly, I’ve seen the result of the failure to make an estate plan and the impact this can have on a person’s family. Here are the 4 most common estate planning mistakes made by people that should be avoided by you.


The first and most common estate planning mistake made by most people is a failure to have an estate plan at all. When this occurs, the laws of intestacy in the Idaho will control how your property is distributed when you die. The Idaho laws of intestacy don’t always distribute property the way you would want to do it yourself. Often, the property that you would have wanted to have gone to your spouse or to your children in a certain way will simply be distributed the way the Idaho statutes require it to be done. In this instance then you have no control over the distribution of your Idaho estate.


The second most common mistake made by people when getting their Idaho estate planning done is that they go to the Internet or with a software program and simply create their Idaho last will and testament to distribute their Idaho property when they die. These individuals make no plan for their own lives while they are alive. We are living longer than we ever have before and as a result more and more people are becoming disabled. When this occurs these elderly individuals are unable to care for themselves, their property and finances. By creating a complete Idaho estate plan you will have an Idaho power of attorney that will provide a plan for you if you become disabled. This eliminates the need for a costly and time-consuming guardianship proceeding in court.


The third major mistake that I often see clients make when talking about Idaho estate planning is that they put in the names of their children on their bank accounts and or on their home. Doing this has many unintended consequences. One of these consequences could be the loss of the property if a creditor of your child obtains a judgment against them. Because your child’s name is on the account or on the property this creditor would have the ability to take that property away to satisfy whatever judgment is owed to them.

Additionally when it comes to putting a child’s name on property like a home, there could be unintended tax consequences as well. These should be discussed with a competent tax attorney or CPA who can explain the consequences to you before you make this decision.


A 4th Mistake that I often see my clients make is a failure to update their Idaho estate planning. I often tell my clients that if there is ever a major life change they should review and possibly update their estate planning. A major life change includes a divorce of a person, the death of a person, the birth of a person, a person moving away, or just the passage of a good deal of time. When any of these things happen to someone who is named in your estate planning it is a good idea to review it and make sure that it still is valid and accomplishes what you desire. Most often I find the clients do need to make changes to their estate planning to take care of the change in circumstances that exists.

If you have questions about your Idaho estate planning or what we can do to help you accomplish your Idaho estate plan, we can help. 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 lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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