Articles Posted in Uncategorized

By Lane V. Erickson, Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney practicing in Pocatello Idaho, I have come to learn that having a written estate plan is the very best thing that you can do both for yourself and for your family and loved ones. When you don’t have a written plan there are so many things that are left up to chance, and that open the door for misunderstandings, disagreements, and outright family fights.

My goal as a lawyer helping others with estate planning is to first of all accomplish exactly what they want, and secondly to do everything possible to keep the peace. Your disability or death should be events that bring your family closer together rather than tearing them apart. However, this is exactly what often happens when there is no written estate plan, or a poorly written one.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an Idaho estate planning and probate attorney I often help individuals and families through the probate process when a loved one passes away. This usually includes representing the individual who is appointed by the court as the personal representative of the estate. In doing this my job is to make sure that the personal representative completes all the steps necessary in the probate process. Additionally, I make sure that when the probate is completed, we’ve done everything necessary to eliminate any liability that can rest with the personal representative.

One of the basic steps in a probate is to prepare an inventory of the estate. The inventory is nothing more than making a list of all the assets and debts that were owned or owed by the decedent on the day they passed away.


By Heidi Buck Morrison

Not every dispute plays out in a courtroom. Sometimes parties resolve their dispute through the process of arbitration. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves the parties bringing their dispute before either a panel of arbiters or a single arbiter. Often times, people choose arbitration for cost and time efficiency as it is usually cheaper and faster than litigation. It can also offer parties more privacy than litigation where documents filed with the court become public record.

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Estate planning is a very personal thing to accomplish for an individual or couple. Haven’t been an attorney practicing estate planning for over 17 years I’ve come to realize that talking about Estate Planning and getting it accomplished are difficult things for many people. Once an estate plan is completed, many people are hesitant to talk to others about their estate planning. Understandable that people would want to keep their lives private, however, here are 3 tips on the estate planning conversations that you could and probably should have with your children.


By Nathan R. Palmer

Gamesmanship is common during a contentious divorce. One common example of gamesmanship is the hiding of marital assets in anticipation of divorce. Hiding assets can come in many shapes and sizes, including stowing cash from bank accounts, taking personal property items from the home, and going on a spending spree. Is the other spouse entitled to compensation when a spouse wastes marital assets during divorce?

Spouses owe each other certain fiduciary duties during the term of the marriage. These fiduciary duties include transparency regarding financial assets and all other property matters. Courts may consider whether a spouse has dissipated or wasted assets by spending marital funds in some improper manner, thereby reducing the amount of assets available for division. The burden of proving dissipation of marital assets can be heavy.

Properly planning your estate takes teamwork. During our retirement years most of us will deal with several professionals for different purposes, including a financial advisor, an accountant, and an attorney. The most effect estate plans are those in which those professionals work together. That being said, there are several important professionals who should be involved in planning your estate, but are most often overlooked. Here are two:

A Funeral Director. One of the most overlooked resources available for your estate plan is a pre-paid burial plan. As a result, family members are forced to scramble to make decision, including decisions surrounding the appropriate funeral service, if any, and how to pay for the costs associated with a funeral service and/or cremation. Unfortunately those tough decisions need to be made while mourning the loss of a loved. one.

Consulting a funeral director during your life will provide you with a sense of peace as you know your loved ones will not have to deal with financial stressors in addition to dealing with loss. At Racine Olson our experienced estate planning attorneys recommend you speak with a funeral director to pay for and plan your funeral services. Many of our clients throughout Pocatello, southeast Idaho, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and Boise, report back to us of the sense of completion they fell after pre-paying for, and planning, their funeral services. Mostly, our clients feel like they are providing their loved ones with the opportunity to mourn rather than worry about financial issues after their passing.

Most trusts do not protect assets from a grantor’s creditors. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to review your trust documents for answers regarding the creditor protection your trust may provide.

The overwhelming majority of trusts in place today are known as revocable living trusts (RLT). Most RLTs provide benefits, including the seamless transfer of control in the event a grantor becomes incapacitated or dies. Most RLTs do not protect assets from creditors even though the assets may belong to the trust (i.e., a residence is deeded to the trust). The reason for this lack of creditor protection lies in the fact that the trust is revocable – meaning, the grantor (the person(s) placing the assets into the trust) may revoke the trust, or a portion thereof, and regain direct control of the assets. Thus, the assets are available to the grantor to satisfy obligations to creditors.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will also consider assets belonging to an RLT as assets of the individual applying for Medicaid benefits. Generally, the assets are available to the applicant if he/she simply revokes the trust. As a result, persons seeking Idaho Medicaid eligibility will likely not meet the Medicaid resource eligibility requirement if they simply transfer their assets into an RLT. Contact an experienced Idaho Medicaid planning attorney to plan for the long-term care of your elderly loved ones.

By Fred J. Lewis and Mallory Mitton

The general public’s ideas about the legal system are often shaped by TV shows such as Law and Order: SVU, The Good Wife, and Fairly Legal. The plaintiffs and defendants in these fictional courtrooms are enemies who battle it out using any means necessary to win. These are highly sensationalized and exaggerated representations of what really occurs in criminal cases and civil litigation. In contrast, worker’s compensation proceedings should not be like this at all. The entire purpose behind worker’s compensation laws is to get injured workers fair compensation for their injuries. It has been said that worker’s compensation cases are” nice guy law” where all the parties need to act civility and politeness. The junkyard dog approach will not be tolerated.

The definition of “nice guy law” is illustrated in the 2016 Idaho Industrial Commission decision Salinas v. Bridgeview Estates. The Commission states “…the ‘no-holds-barred’ mentality which is often a part of civil litigation has no place in workers’ compensation proceedings. Unlike civil litigation, which is truly an adversarial-based process, the goal of workers’ compensation – to provide an injured employee with those statutory benefits to which the worker is entitled – should be shared by all parties”. Because the goal of worker’s compensation is to provide injured employees with the benefits they need, no one loses if that goal is shared by everyone involved in the case as it should be!

Pure coincidence, I’m sure: Both of these marks appeared in last week’s Gazette. I’d like to see their stores sitting next door to each other in a mall in Colorado.


(Smoke It All: International Class 1 for chemicals for smoking food; I.C. 4 for wood dust for smoking food; I.C. 35 for retail store services. Smoke It All A/S, Esbjerg, Denmark. Mary Wanna: International Class 32 for fruit juices, energy drinks, soft drinks, and soda water. M&W Brands and Products, Inc., East Bradenton, Florida.)


DaveFile under “should have been rejected as merely descriptive.” Approved and published last week for registration in International Class 37 for bee control and removal services:

Yes, Crazy Bee Man LLC of Hialeah, Florida, yes you are, because by definition anyone in the bee removal business must be. You are no doubt the man for the job.



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