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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.

Quote #1 – “Human decision-making is complex. On our own, our tendency to yield to short-term temptations, and even to addictions, may be too strong for our rational, long-term planning.” – Peter Singer

As this relates to estate-planning it’s easy to procrastinate getting it done. It’s easy to keep our thinking short-term rather than thinking about what could happen to us during our lifetime that may cause problems for us, or family, or our loved ones in later years. By having at least a basic estate plan in place, you have provided numerous protections for both yourself and for your family and loved ones.

Quote #2- “Wills are uncanny and electric documents. They lie dormant for years and then spring to life when their author dies, as if death were rain. Their effect on those they enrich is never negligible, and sometimes unexpectedly charged. They thrust living and dead into a final fierce clasp of love or hatred. But they are not written in stone—for all their granite legal language—and they can be bent to subvert the wishes of the writer.” Strangers in Paradise: How Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas got to Heaven, by Janet Malcolm, The New Yorker, Nov. 13, 2006, at 57.

This quote reminds me of the importance of seeking legal help when you create your estate plan including your last will and testament document. When your last will and testament is done correctly, it will accomplish what you want. However, if it is not done correctly or carefully, it can lead to confusion or Worse to family members fighting over what it means. Our goal as a Idaho estate planning attorneys is to reduce the likelihood of any family fights so as to keep relationships intact.

Quote #3- “Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.” ~ Johann Kaspar Lavater

I’ve come to know after 20 years of experience as an estate planning attorney that not all families are the same. I’ve been shocked to see how family relationships can be destroyed over the most trivial of things during the distribution of a person’s property after they have died. By having a well-written last will and testament, you take the decision-making out of the hands of those who were living and make those decisions yourself about who will receive your money, property, and assets, after you have died. I have personally seen many instances where the lack of a last will and testament or a poorly written last will and testament has led to the destruction of relationships between family members who were fighting over dividing an inheritance.

Quote #4 – “Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.”– Ambrose Bierce

Well it is unfortunate, it is true. There are many instances where families do fight legally over the money, property, and assets of their deceased loved one. However, with a well-crafted estate plan, it is less likely that family members could or would have the ability to litigate over your estate. Rather, through a well-crafted estate planning including a written last will and testament, you have the ability of limiting the opportunities for litigation to arise. By avoiding litigation, you have a better chance of keeping relationships within your family intact.


If you do not have an estate plan in place, we can help. When it comes to estate planning or probate you should never try to do it alone. If you have questions for yourself or for your family and loved ones, call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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