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Articles Posted in Estate Planning

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

When I meet a person for the first time and mention that I’m an estate planning attorney they usually respond by saying that they’ve been meaning to get their Will done for some time. This is a common response, and an interesting one. I find that most people don’t understand estate planning and believe it is only focused on who gets their money, property, and other assets after they die. In other words, most people believe that estate planning is focused only on death. This isn’t true!

Whenever I meet with a new client to discuss estate planning, I always start the meeting by focusing on how estate planning can help protect and provide for my client while they are alive. I leave the discussions about Wills, and giving gifts after they die, to the very end of the meeting. The reason I do this is because I tell my clients. The most important part of estate planning is helping them while they are alive.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Life is a wonderful thing, but it also brings many challenges. One of the great things about being an estate planning attorney is that it gives me the ability and the opportunity to look at life from a different perspective. By representing clients through numerous probates, and in the creation of their estate plans, I have been given an opportunity to look at the lives of many different individuals. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this experience is that life is always changing.

In other words, as the years roll by, your relationships with people change, where you live may change, the people you are around changes, and the property that you own also changes. In other words, life is not static, and change is the very essence of life.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As with many professions and situations the world of estate planning and probate is filled with many technical terms, steps that need to be completed, and processes that need to be followed, in order for everything to be done right. Having been an estate planning attorney now for over 20 years I understand that my clients will not have the same understanding, knowledge, and experience that I have. The good news is, I use all of these things to benefit and help my clients in every situation they bring to me and with every question they need to have answered.

One of the questions that came up recently from a client was whether an “ancillary probate” needed to be done as part of the administration of their deceased parent’s estate. First of all, I was impressed that my client knew the term “ancillary probate” and was able to ask this specific question. After reviewing the situation, we were able to determine that an ancillary probate was not necessary.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

One of the most important jobs I perform as an estate planning and probate lawyer is helping my clients determine when and if a probate is required. While doing this, I often find some misunderstandings exist. For example, some clients erroneously believe that if there is a written last will and testament then there is no need to complete a probate. This is not true.

Regardless of whether there is or isn’t a written Will, a probate is required in Idaho anytime a person individually owns any type or kind of an interest in real estate, or even if there is no real estate that is owned, a probate is still required when the total value of the individual’s estate is worth $100,000 or more when they die.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

I love living in Idaho. Not only is it a picturesque and beautiful state it also has very favorable laws when it comes to estate planning and probate. Additionally, the costs for getting these things done is lower than just about any other state.

Having been an estate planning and probate attorney for more than 20 years, I’ve completed my fair share of probates. I am also licensed in Utah and have had an opportunity to become familiar with the estate planning and probate laws of several surrounding states. Because of this, I can tell you with certainty, that Idaho is a special place.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for over 20 years I have heard all the excuses when it comes estate planning. However, the biggest myth that exists and the one that I hear regularly is that a person feels like they don’t need to get an estate plan done. I suppose if that person has a crystal ball and has a perfect view of what their future holds this may be true. However, without a crystal ball, or some other way of knowing exactly what your future is going to be like, then I would suggest to you that your future is uncertain. The uncertainties of life are exactly why you should get your estate planning done.

It is possible that at some point in your future you may lose the ability to make decisions for yourself about your money, property, and other assets as well. This could come in the form of an illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of Dementia or it could be the result of an injury. Making decisions about your stuff, is the main function of a durable power of attorney document while you are alive. This document gives you the ability to name somebody who will take care of these things for you, if you can no longer do that for yourself.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for over 20 years, I can tell you that each of my clients had concerns and questions about creating their own estate plan. Perhaps the most important question these clients discuss with me is who they should name as the guardians of their children, if they were to die at a time when their children are still young.

Idaho law allows a parent to nominate one or more guardians for their minor aged children in their last will and testament. A nomination made by a parent in this way has the highest priority of appointment by the courts.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Like most people, I’m often asked what I do for a living. When I tell people that I am an estate planning attorney, the most common response I hear is, “I really need to get my estate planning done.” In other words, most people recognize that estate planning is important, but they do not actually get it done. I’ve thought about this a lot and wondered why it is that most people do not get their estate planning done. I am pretty sure I know the answer.

Like most things, when it comes to estate planning, people don’t get it done because they don’t know how to start. Let’s face it, if estate planning was easy for everyone to understand and do then everyone would already have it done. For most people it’s not easy because they don’t know what they need to do.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

I sometimes use this blog to list and answer questions that come up from my clients. Having been an Idaho estate planning attorney now for over 20 years I find that some questions come up frequently. One of the regular questions that I am asked is whether a person can list a child or someone else on the deed to their home as a survivor. In other words, in an effort to avoid probate, my clients want to know if they can have a deed that will transfer the real estate on their death to another individual.

Probate is required in Idaho anytime a person dies when their name is listed on the deed or title to any type of real estate. The real estate could be a home, or farm ground, or just bare ground. Regardless of what it is, and regardless of its value, if a person’s name is listed on the deed to that property and they pass away, then a probate is required to give someone else the authority to transfer that real property from the person’s estate after their death.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

While awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive in his jail cell. He was pronounced dead on August 10, 2019, at 6:39 am and his death was ruled a suicide. Prior to his death, he had been investigated for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, and pleaded guilty to those charges to avoid persecution of an additional 36 girls who were identified. Through his conviction he became a registered sex offender but did very little time other than 13 months with extensive work release.

Epstein was arrested a second time on July 6, 2019 under the federal court system for charges of sex trafficking minors in both Florida and New York. Both before and after his death more than 50 alleged victims filed suit against Jeffrey Epstein and against his estate which is estimated to be valued at $634 million.

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