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Estate Planning Is Not Just About Death But is Also About Life

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Whenever I am working with my estate planning clients I have the opportunity to help them appreciate and understand everything that getting their estate planning done can accomplish. In particular, I am able to point out to them that getting their estate planning done is not just about their death but is also about their life. What I mean by this is that estate planning for an individual can help them plan for their own future and life. here is a list of documents that are used in estate planning to care for a person while they are alive.


As I meet with my clients and we go over their estate planning documents I spend the first part of my time explaining to them the reasons that their estate planning can help them during their life. When we have this discussion I always focus on the durable powerS of attorney that can be provided. These durable powers of attorney include a power of attorney for finances and what I call the “business of life”, and it can also include a durable power of attorney for health care.

Suppose for a moment that you have Alzheimer’s disease. In this instance your body is healthy and fine but your mind is no longer capable of functioning correctly. When this occurs you are no longer capable of taking care of what I call the business of life. This would include taking care of your bank accounts, paying your bills, taking care of your properties, and simply making those everyday decisions that every person makes concerning their own life.

In the instance described above if you do not have a durable power of attorney in place comment in the law states that a legal guardian will have to be named for you, so that your finances and properties and basic life decisions can be made by a person who does have capacity. A legal guardianship can be expensive, can be time-consuming, and is open to argument from family members who can’t agree on who should be legally named. All of this can be avoided when a person completes and has a valid durable power of attorney which covers finances and healthcare.


The second area that I like to discuss with people has to do with having a proper and valid living will. A living will is a document that tells your medical and health care providers what your specific wishes are if a certain set of circumstances exist. These circumstances include the following: (1) You have a terminal illness or injury; (2)  your physician state that your death is imminent; and (3)  you are unable to communicate with your medical and health care providers. When all three of these circumstances exist then you are living will has legal power to direct your medical and health care providers about what your wishes are. You have the ability to tell them whether you want them to do everything possible to keep you alive, or if you would rather have them not take any measures and simply allow you to die naturally.

Most people have strong opinions about both of the legal decisions described above. If you have any questions about how you can prepare a durable power of attorney and a living will, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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