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.

Every person should have at least a basic estate plan which includes a written last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. It’s possible that you may also need a trust for minor children, or for a child who has a disability or an addiction. There could be other reasons that a trust would be helpful as part of your estate plan. Whatever your needs are, working with a qualified and experienced Pocatello estate planning attorney is the very best way to develop a written estate plan that will meet your particular needs and circumstances.

One of the specific ways that having a written plan helps you is that it gives you the ability to choose your own personal representative. This person, the personal representative, is the individual that you nominate to be in charge of your estate after you pass away.

This person is required to be appointed by a court in order to have the legal authority to do everything that needs to be done to administer your estate after you die. Additionally, this person is tasked with the responsibility of making sure that all your debts and obligations are taken care of. This person has the duty and responsibility to carry out the specific instructions that you leave in your written last will and testament.

Again, by having a written last will and testament you get to choose who to nominate for this position. Without a written Will, the laws that apply, which are the intestacy laws, will decide who receives this appointment. Because of this, it’s possible that if you don’t have a written Will, someone you would not have chosen will be appointed by the court to be your personal representative.

In my opinion, in every aspect of life, and also at your death, it’s far better to be proactive. This allows you to keep control of the things that happen, and more particularly the things that don’t happen. This gives you the ability to make sure that your specific intentions and wishes are carried out.

If you have questions or concerns about your current estate plan, or you would like to create a plan for yourself or for a family member or loved one, we encourage you to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation where we can answer your questions and help you move forward in getting your estate plan done. We have assisted thousands of clients and are confident that we can help you too!


If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  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 Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello estate planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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