Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for more than 20 years I’ve seen just about every situation you can think of arise when it comes to dealing with family members and distributing estate assets. One of the questions that comes up regularly is whether a parent could actually leave nothing to their children. The short answer is yes. While this may seem harsh, there are a variety of reasons why this could be a good idea.

For example, suppose that one of your children suffers from an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or gambling or some other issue. Even though you love your child, it would probably not be a good idea to leave money, property, and other valuable assets to this child after you pass away. If you were to do this, it would likely only make the addiction your child suffers worse.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney in Idaho for the last 20 years I am always interested in things that are done by celebrities when it comes to their estate planning or, after their deaths what occurs within their estate. The reason for this is that I believe many good lessons can be learned from the things that are either done or not done by these famous people.

Recently, the singer Rick Ocasek, from the 1980s rock group The Cars passed away. He died at the age of 75 from a heart attack brought on by cardiovascular disease. Mr. Ocasek, and his wife Paulina Porizkova, who is a famous model, were separated and were in the process of getting a divorce. Because of this, Mr Ocasek wrote in his Will:

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

When Christmas or birthdays roll around every year, we spend time thinking about the very best gifts that we can give to our family and loved ones. Sometimes we even think about the gifts that we are going to receive. We do this because these things are important to us. The purpose of this article is to talk about one of the very best gifts that you can actually give to your family and loved ones. This gift would be pre-planning and prepaying for your own funeral.

Why would pre planning and prepaying your own funeral be such a gift to your family? There are many reasons. Here are just a few.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Maybe you’ve thought about estate planning. Perhaps you even got to the point where you’ve decided that you want to get your estate planning done. So, what do you do now?

When I talk to estate planning clients, I find that this is often where they are. They simply don’t know where to start to get their estate planning done even though they know they want to do it.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

When it comes to your Idaho estate planning you are in complete control if you have a well thought out and complete written last will and testament. If you do not have a written Will, then your estate will be distributed based on the statutes in Idaho. This simply means that some of your money, property, or other assets, could go to individuals or family members that you do not want them to go to.

I’ve worked as an Idaho estate planning and probate attorney for more than 20 years. This means that I’ve seen just about everything you can imagine when it comes to both estate planning, and probate. One of the common things that I have seen is when a parent wants to disinherit one of their children, but simply does it wrong. When it’s done wrong, then the child is not disinherited, and they receive a portion of the parents’ estate after all despite what the parent wants.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

There are many misunderstandings about probate. These misunderstandings often come from the stories we hear from family members or friends. Even when these stories happen in other states and places, I’ve found that many of my clients are concerned. The main reason: the stories we hear are mainly about how everything went wrong, sometimes really REALLY wrong. Think about it. When things go right, there is no story so we don’t hear about that.

As an Idaho probate attorney for more than 20 years, I’ve heard every story. I’ve even been involved in probates where things have gone badly wrong because of family fights and poorly drafted last wills and testaments or trusts.  Like they say on the Farmers Insurance commercials, I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Over the 20-plus years that I’ve practiced as an estate planning attorney I’ve seen just about every situation you can imagine. Many of these situations include individuals on their actual deathbeds wanting to complete their estate planning, including getting their written last will and testament done. I’ve helped in many of these situations. However, I am also keenly aware that as an attorney I have to independently verify that the individual on their deathbed who is seeking to get their estate planning done, can really do it.

In my practice, I often tell my clients that I have specific goals to complete when I’m helping them with their estate planning. The first goal is that I want to accomplish exactly what my client wants to do within the bounds of the law. My additional goal is that by accomplishing the first goal, the written last will and testament will help keep peace in their family after my client passes away.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney

The goal of all good estate planning is to provide protection for the individual while they are alive and to allow their money, property, and assets to be distributed to the people they want them to go to after they pass away. One of the biggest assets that individuals have to transfer to someone else after they pass away usually is real estate. This could be a home, or it could be farm ground, or it could be an investment property. Regardless of what it is, real estate is unique, because it is one of the few assets in an estate that can actually trigger the need for a probate.

The purpose of this article is to talk about real estate and how it could affect your estate planning, and what happens with your estate after you pass away. By understanding these things, hopefully it will help you make some decisions about your own estate planning.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney

Isn’t it great when you have someone offer you advice that actually helps you in your life? I’ve been an estate planning attorney in Pocatello, Idaho now for over 20 years. During this time, I’ve offered a plethora of advice to each of my clients about their own estate planning documents and how they can use these documents to protect themselves while they are alive and provide for their family and loved ones after they have passed away.

There are so many nuances and specifics about an estate plan that are important it’s easy to give advice about estate planning to each of my clients. The areas that can be discussed include things such as a simple last will and testament all the way to the most complicated of trusts. I can also provide advice at length about using an estate plan to provide for minor aged children, children who have addictions, children who have disabilities and special needs, and children that parents want to disinherit from their estate plan. Additionally, I also regularly provide advice to my clients about how their estate planning can protect them while they are alive through their durable power of attorney, their living will, or their power of attorney for health care.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney I see all kinds of mistakes people make when it comes to estate planning. For most people, the biggest mistake is that they don’t get any estate planning done at all. They have no documents, including no last will and testament, no power of attorney, no living will, and no power of attorney for health care. However, there are other devastating mistakes that a person can make when it comes to their own estate plan. Perhaps the most common one is when a person does get their estate planning documents done but they fail to keep these documents properly updated. That is the focus of today’s article.

I like to tell people that their documents including their will and so forth, have a shelf life. In fact, it’s a good idea to think about your estate-planning as having an expiration date. Most importantly, your documents need to be updated anytime you go through a major life change. Major life changes include the birth of someone, the death of someone, a marriage, a divorce, someone moving away, or just the passage of time. A couple of examples will help illustrate what this means.

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