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.

However, a written Will is still very important. Without a written Will, the statutes in Idaho control both who will be appointed as a personal representative, and who the beneficiaries are that will receive the decedent’s estate. On the other hand, when a written Will exists, it controls who is appointed as the personal representative. Additionally, a written Will specifically identifies and names who the beneficiaries of the estate are and what it is that will be distributed to them from the estate.

In other words, even though a probate may still be required when there is a written Will, it gives the decedent the ability to control who will be in charge and who they will give their assets, money, and other property to when they die. Because of this, a written Will is very important for each person as part of their basic estate plan.

Most people don’t have a written Will because they don’t know how to begin one. We make the process easy. We provide a free Estate Planning Questionnaire, that we can either email to you or you can download from our web site. This is a PDF document that you can type directly into and save to your computer. You can then email it back to me and we can schedule a free 30-minute consultation to review your information and to discuss the things that are important to you when it comes to your own estate plan.

To put it succinctly, having a written Will is important because it gives you the ability to stay in control of your estate. Contact us today for your free 30-minute consultation so we can discuss the important ways that a Will can help you in your life and provide for your family and loved ones after you pass away.


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.

Contact Information