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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

I love being an estate planning attorney because I find that I can help individuals make a plan for every possible aspect of their lives. In fact, sometimes when people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I provide sleep insurance. When I say this, most people look at me funny. This gives me an opportunity to clarify that I am actually an estate planning attorney and that because of the work I do people are able to sleep well at night knowing that they and their family are protected through a well-thought-out plan.

A basic estate plan would include a last will and testament, providing a person with the ability to decide who they want to give their money, property, and other assets to after they have died. It also includes a durable power of attorney and a power of attorney for healthcare. These documents give a person the ability to protect themselves while they are alive and make sure that they will be cared for and that their estate will be protected and used for their benefit. Additionally, we provide a living will which gives an individual the ability to make end-of-life decisions and provide specific instructions to their healthcare providers. Depending on a person’s circumstances we may also provide one or more trusts as part of their estate plan.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In an ideal world you would have your estate planning done when you can truly think about the things that you want to accomplish and do. In other words, you don’t have to rush to get it done. However, we often find that life is not ideal. In other words, sometimes emergencies come up and things need to be taken care of quickly in order to make sure that they are done right.

A medical emergency is one of those situations. You often can’t plan for these types of things, but if you have been thoughtful, hopefully you are ready.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In many ways, the Coronavirus has changed the way we live life. A good number of people are now working from home remotely. Additionally, many people are avoiding grocery stores and shopping online for groceries and are having in-home entertainment through streaming services rather than going to the movie theater. The bottom line is our daily lives and the things we do are not the same as they used to be.

The good news is, when it comes to estate planning and probate work, nothing has really changed. It’s true that we are having fewer in-person meetings with clients. Rather than doing face-to-face meetings, we are now doing more phone conferences and video conferences than ever before. However, when it comes to completing a probate, things are pretty much the same as they’ve always been. In other words, it is possible and easy to move forward with a probate during the Coronavirus pandemic.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Over my 20-plus year career as an estate planning attorney I have had several clients come to me wanting to know if they can do something different than what the Will or Trust says is supposed to be done that was left by their parent, or their spouse, or by some other family member or loved one who has passed away. In other words, they want to know if they are strictly bound by the Will or Trust they are faced with.

The answer is most likely yes, however, it is possible that they may be able to change the distribution or plans that are set forth in a Will or Trust through Idaho’s TEDRA statutes. TEDRA is an acronym that stands for the Idaho Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act. TEDRA is designed to be used by individuals both when a dispute arises and when there is no dispute. Despite its name, the statute itself specifically holds that there doesn’t have to be an actual dispute in order for TEDRA to apply under certain circumstances. Additionally, the idea behind this statute is to provide a non-judicial resolution (which means no court litigation) between persons that arise in an estate administration to save time and money. The statute is found at Idaho Code §§ 15-8-101 et seq.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s the importance of being able to laugh at ourselves and at other funny situations that arise. Certainly, the pandemic is serious. Because of this, we need to find ways to relieve our own stress and two keep ourselves emotionally stable. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

Based on this, I’ve done some research to find some of the wackiest probates in history so I can share these with you. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed researching them.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Over the past 21 years that I’ve worked as an estate planning attorney I’ve learned many things about how people feel and think about their estate plans. There have been hundreds of times I’ve sat down with a client and with their children to discuss estate planning and in all of these conversations I point out to my clients that I actually represent them. Then, in front of the other people in the room which are usually the children, I ask my clients, who are usually the parents, for permission to discuss their estate planning issues, concerns, and documents while their children are in the room.

There usually is not an issue with this. In most instances, the parents have brought their children because they want their children to help them make decisions or to simply be aware of what their estate plan is. However, as an attorney, I have both an ethical and a legal obligation to keep my clients’ estate plans confidential.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

There are several good reasons why you would want to meet with your estate planning and probate attorney. One of those reasons would be when you have a family member or loved one pass away. When this happens, it’s likely that you and others will have many questions and concerns. There’s no reason why you should carry these burdens and let them worry or bother you. Rather, you would be wise to meet with your estate planning and probate attorney as soon as you can so you can get answers to your questions and find out what needs to be done.

We offer a free 30-minute consultation where we discuss the probate process with our clients and answer their questions. I found that when I do this with my clients, they always feel relieved about having a better understanding of the things that need to be accomplished. We encourage you to contact us immediately if you’ve had a family member or loved one pass away.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning and probate attorney, I am often asked questions about the probate process. To help my clients understand probate I have developed a diagram that walks through the steps involved in probate and answers most questions clients have about the process.

Most recently, because of the Coronavirus, the question that I am often asked is how they can go about doing a probate. The reason for this is that in many instances surviving spouses or children are in different areas of the United States and are unable to travel to Idaho.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As a practicing Idaho Estate Planning and probate attorney for over 20 years, I have seen just about every scenario you can imagine when it comes to completing a probate in Idaho. I’ve also come to understand that there is a lot of confusion about whether a probate needs to be done, if so what the probate process is, and who would be chosen to act as the Personal Representative (also known as the Executor) of the probate estate. The purpose of this article is to talk about who will be chosen as a Personal Representative when there is no written last will and testament left by the person who passes away.

Many people that I talk to erroneously believe that if there is a written last will and testament then there is no need for a probate to be done. It’s important to understand at the start that regardless of whether there is or isn’t a written last will and testament, a probate may still be required in Idaho. Simply put, a probate is required in Idaho anytime a person passes away when their name is on the deed or title to any type of real estate regardless of whether it is a home, or farm ground or bare ground. Additionally, a probate in Idaho is required anytime a person’s estate is worth more than $100,000 regardless of the type of property that is in it. Additionally, a probate may be required if the deceased person was going to receive a payment from a third-party such as insurance benefits, or litigation proceeds, or a payment from other types of accounts.

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

With the coronavirus pandemic raging throughout the world and in the United States I have had several clients talk to me about whether they should update their estate planning documents. It’s a wonderful question and it’s one that should be asked regularly by any individual who has their estate planning done. The reason for this is that life simply doesn’t stand still.

What I mean by this is that life is ever-changing. Our job, our marriage, or children, where we live, can all change very quickly. I usually suggest to my clients that they review their estate planning documents anytime they have gone through a major life change, or if nothing significant has changed in their lives they should review their estate plan every 5 years at least.

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