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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for 20 years, I firmly believe that every individual can benefit from having a least a basic written estate plan. A basic estate planning includes not only a written last will and testament, but also a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. Most people are familiar with a written last will and testament but most people don’t understand or know what the other basic a documents listed above can do for them. It’s for this reason, that this article is dedicated to discussing why every person should have a durable power of attorney as part of their basic estate plan.

To help you understand how important a durable power of attorney could be for you and your family and loved ones, this article will discuss what a durable power of attorney is, how having one can save your family money, and how having one could possibly save your family from having internal disagreements or fights. Hopefully this article will convince you that you too should create your own durable power of attorney.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having practiced estate planning law in Idaho for 20 years I have come to find that the number one concern most people have when it comes to their estate planning is how it will affect or protect or provide for their children. In Idaho, a person is considered an adult if they are 18 years old or older. Anyone who is under this age is considered a minor. Protecting and providing for minor aged children is always an important part of estate planning. Additionally, even though a person may have adult children, they may still have concerns about how their children would handle the money, property, or other assets that they may receive from their estate after they have passed away.

One of the major focuses of estate planning that we assist our clients with is thinking about their children and how their estate planning can help these children. We take the time to go over the circumstances of each of the children our clients have to help our clients understand the choices they have and what they can do to assist their children regardless of their ages. Below are the two most important things that you should consider if you have children and you want to complete or update your estate-planning.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney for over 20 years, I can speak through personal experience in saying how important it is to use an attorney to help you create and keep your estate-planning updated. My experience is that some people what to try to save money and as a result will try to do their estate-planning themselves. In the end, this usually ends up costing more money because one of two instances usually comes up.

The first instance that usually comes up is that this individual will have a change in the circumstances of their life and will realize that they need to update their estate planning. They will then bring their estate planning into me to review and I will be able to see the specific changes that need to be made. Many times, we discover that the written estate planning documents the client did on their own have major mistakes in them that would cause serious problems for their family and loved ones after they pass away. The good news is that when it’s discovered during this time period changes can be made, and everything can be fixed.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having assisted numerous clients with their Idaho estate planning needs, I’ve come to learn that not every individual needs exactly the same thing. Everyone is unique. The relationships, the property, the money, the assets, and the motives and goals of each person are based upon their personalities, needs, and desires. Because of this each person should have an estate plan that is as unique as they are. In other words, using cookie cutter estate planning forms, or giving each client the exact same estate plan will likely not meet their needs. It’s for this reason that we encourage each client to work with us to create their own individualized estate plan.

I’ve learned that the biggest problem in getting estate planning done for most people is that they simply do not know where to start. We certainly don’t expect our clients to understand estate planning the same way we do. It’s for this reason, that we provide our clients with our Estate Planning Questionnaire to help them get started.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for more than 20 years, I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories about Estate Planning, and either how it has helped individuals, or how not having estate planning done correctly can cause problems. Most recently I have been interested in the story of world famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the interactions he has had with his family through his estate planning documents.

If you are not familiar with the circumstances here is a quick summary. Buzz Aldrin attained an estate plan with the help of some attorneys. Part of the estate planning created a trust in which a good deal of money and other assets were placed. Apparently, Andrew Aldrin, the son of Buzz Aldrin, was named as the trustee of this trust.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

For over 20 years my Idaho estate planning clients come to me with questions and concerns they have about completing their own estate planning. My goal is to answer their questions and assist them in making meaningful decisions that they feel will provide the protections they need during their lifetime and will assist in distributing their money, property, and assets to their loved ones after they have passed away.

In providing protection for my clients while they are alive, a basic part of our estate planning documents always includes a living will. A living will is the document that a client can use to provide specific instructions to their doctors, and other healthcare providers, in the event they are in a terminal condition, they are being kept alive by life support, and they cannot communicate with their doctors. If these circumstances exist, a living will provides our clients with the ability to give specific instructions about what they do want and what they do not want as part of their medical treatment.

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Bye Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

When it comes to estate planning perhaps the most useful thing the Racine Law Office offers to our clients is our free 30-minute consultation. During our free 30-minute consultation we can answer all of client’s questions and can also give them a basic understanding of Idaho estate planning and how a well-written estate plan can help them personally as well as provide for their family and loved ones after they die. We don’t expect our clients to understand estate planning the same way we do. Nor do we expect our clients to have the skill, or expertise necessary to help them know what they should and should not include as part of their estate plan. Our goal is to give our clients as much information as possible through the free 30-minute consultation to help them understand their options and to make decisions about what they would like to get done.

One of the most often asked questions I get during our free 30-minute consultation is whether it is really important that our clients have an actual written will. Many of our clients believe that if they have a written Last Will and Testament they will not have to go through probate. Alternatively, some people believe that it is only through a written will that a probate is required.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for 20 years, I have often seen many clients gamble with their future by not having their estate planning documents completed. It’s interesting because these same individuals would never gamble with their money or with the lives of their family members or loved ones and yet they seem indifferent about the gamble they are taking with their own lives. In particular, most individuals seem indifferent about the fact that at some point in their life they may need help from someone else in making medical or health care decisions. Additionally, many individuals never believe that they will ever find themselves in a terminal condition and on life support.

The purpose of this article is to convince you that you should get your estate planning done that would include a living will and power of attorney for health care. The reason again for this is so that you are not gambling with your own life.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

The real purpose of estate planning is to meet your specific individual needs. In other words, there really is no cookie-cutter approach that can benefit every single person because each person is unique and different. As a result, a good estate plan will take into consideration all of your peculiar, individualized, and unique circumstances and then create a plan that will meet your needs.

As an estate planning attorney for the last 20 years I have seen just about every type and kind of estate plan that a person can come up with. I usually see these after the person has passed away and their family or other loved ones are coming to me for advice or counsel on what they need to do. As I have helped my clients and their families through this process, I have come to realize that there really are only three types of plans that exist when it comes to estate planning. These plans are listed below along with my comments about whether they are good or not.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having practiced estate planning in Pocatello for 20 years I am passionate that everyone needs a good estate plan. It really doesn’t matter what your age is whether you were married or single or whether you believe you have any errors or not, an estate plan will help you individually and personally. The major goals of estate planning are to protect you while you were alive, allow you to distribute your property after you die, and make sure all your debts and expenses are taken care of.

Sometimes I have a client who will tell me that they don’t have any heirs and as a result they don’t need any estate planning. Even if you don’t have any heirs, there are three specific reasons that you should still get your estate planning done. These reasons are listed below.

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