Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

It doesn’t really matter whether you live in Boise, Nampa, Pocatello, or Coeur d’Alene. Idaho Estate planning Basics are the same for everyone. Every adult in Idaho should have at least a basic estate plan in place for themselves and for their family. Here are the 4 components of a basic Idaho estate plan.

1. DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

So you have completed your Idaho estate planning. Congratulations! You have now accomplished more than 68 percent of adults in America. However, before you get too excited about what you have done, it is a great idea to look over what you have completed and make sure that it actually accomplishes what you want. More importantly, it is wise for you to review your Idaho estate plan including your life insurance to avoid common mistakes that can cause problems. Here’s a list of these mistakes, and if you have made them, a description of the steps you can take to fix these mistakes.

The first and most common mistake found in Idaho estate plans that include life insurance is if you’ve named a minor child or even a young adult as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, that is a big mistake that needs to be fixed. Under Idaho law it is illegal for a minor to be the recipient directly of life insurance proceeds. Rather, before money can be distributed to the minor, there has to be a legal guardian and or Conservator who is named who will receive those monies and hold them for the benefit of the minor child. If all you have done is named a minor as a beneficiary, there is room for a legal argument to be made by several adults that they should be named as the guardian and conservator of that child. This would leave them in control of the money.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Having practiced as an Idaho estate planning attorney for nearly 18 years, I’ve come to learn that everyone should consider completing their Idaho estate planning. This would include the demographic group of individuals known as Millennials. Millennials are defined to be persons born in the mid 1980s through the year 2000. Today they would be between the ages of 18 to about 30.  Basically, this is a group of young adults.

Most Millennials I have spoken to have never really considered getting their estate planning done. The reason for this is fairly easy to determine. This group of individuals are fairly young, and because of that they believe that there is plenty of time to worry about getting their Idaho estate planning done later in life, when they were more likely to need it. There really are 3 main reasons why Millennials should consider completing their Idaho estate planning.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Like most states Idaho allows an individual to create a living will. Sometimes people use a different name for a living will such as a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” or DNR, or a “Health Care Directive”.  These are all fancy names that lawyers use for this document but they all mean the same thing. A living will is a document where the individual who creates it can provide specific directions to his healthcare providers as to the medical treatment he wants to receive towards the end of his or her life. There are a number of different choices this individual has as to the kind of treatment they either do or do not want to receive.

Under the terms and directions of the document itself, most living will only becomes effective when three specific circumstances exist. The first is that the person has a terminal medical condition. The second circumstance is that the health care providers believe the terminal condition will lead to the imminent death of the individual. And the third condition is that the individual is unable to communicate with their healthcare providers. When these three circumstances occur the living will becomes effective and provides direction to health care providers.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Having been an attorney in Idaho for nearly eighteen years, and having completed a number of probates for clients during that time, I find that many people are confused about the probate process in Idaho. Probate in Idaho is really not that difficult. However, I know it can be intimidating for those who don’t deal with it regularly. Here are 3 things that every person in Idaho should know about Idaho probate.

1. WHEN IS PROBATE REQUIRED

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Most people are aware that Idaho estate planning is used to plan for a person’s life and death. When you ask most people about what estate planning should accomplish they will point to the giving of gifts after their death. While this is an important part of estate planning, I often tell my clients at the most important objective or goal of their Idaho estate planning should be to keep peace within the family after they pass away. Their deaths should be an opportunity for their family to come together and comfort one another and to strengthen their relationships with each other. However, I often find that the death of a parent often leads children to bicker and fight over the property that is left in the estate. Here are 4 tips on how to avoid inheritance conflicts in your family.

1. BE CLEAR AND CONCISE WITH YOUR ESTATE PLANNING

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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.

1. FAILURE TO CREATE AN ESTATE PLAN

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Over the years as an estate planning attorney I’ve had an opportunity to meet with many individuals whose circumstances are quite varied. Some of these individuals have many children and grandchildren, and some of them have none at all. Right in the middle I’ve had some clients who have only one child. This circumstance is unique and requires planning and some deliberate thought.  Here are 4 estate planning tips for parents who have only one child in Idaho.

1. ESTATE PLANNING DOES MORE THAN GIVE YOUR PROPERTY AWAY

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

In the estate planning discussions I have with my clients the concept of being fair with distributions made to children often comes up. It’s not surprising because parents most often really do want to be fair with their children. However, I have come to learn that parents who attempt to be fair in the distribution of their estate through their Idaho estate planning often cause more problems than they solve. Here are 3 reasons why your estate planning does not need to be fair to your children.

1. THE LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE FAIRNESS

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By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

As an Idaho estate planning attorney I’ve seen all kinds of clients come into my office with questions about their Idaho estate planning. One thing that I find troubling is when parents begin discussing how to make distributions to their children in an unequal way based on what I considered to be arbitrary or silly reasons. To be clear, each individual is entitled to make whatever decisions they choose in their estate planning. This could even include the drastic act of disinheriting a child if a parent chooses to do so. However, I usually have frank discussions with my clients about their decisions to make sure that they fully understand the ramifications of what they are doing. One of the discussions that I have often with my clients is about creating a plan of unequal distributions among their children. Here are what I consider to be 3 bad reasons for treating your children differently in your Idaho estate planning.

1. YOUR CHILD’S SPOUSE