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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having practiced Idaho estate planning law now for nearly 20 years I am passionate about my belief that everyone needs a good estate plan. Whether you are young or old, whether you are married or single, and whether you have heirs or not, Idaho estate planning includes far more than just a plan for giving away your money, property, and assets to someone else. Rather, the entire focus and goal of estate planning is to do two specific things for you: (1) protect you while you are alive; and (2) provide a plan for you to distribute your belongings to someone else after you die.

While it’s not common, every once in a while, I do have a client tell me that they have no heirs. Based on this these clients believe that there really is no purpose to their getting their own personal estate planning done. Here are the three reasons I tell people that they should still get their estate planning done even when they have no heirs.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Through my experiences as an Idaho estate planning attorney over the last 20 years, I have occasionally had instances where people want to challenge the last will and testament that was left by their parent, or some other family member or loved one. Often, these individuals will tell me they are sure their mom or dad would not have had that kind of a last will and testament. They are positive that their mom or dad was coerced into signing the document. They may even actually have some proof or witnesses to say that in fact there was some coercion or undue influence over their parent that caused their parent to sign their will.

The Idaho Supreme Court has addressed the issue of undue influence when it comes to a last will and testament. According to the Idaho Supreme Court “a will may be held invalid on the basis of undue influence where sufficient evidence is presented indicating that the testator’s free agency was overcome by another.” In re Estate of Roll, 115 Idaho 797, 799 770 P.2d 806, 808 (1989). Additionally, the Idaho Supreme Court has stated that “undue influence is demonstrated through proof of four elements: (1) a person who is subject to undue influence; (2) an opportunity to exert undue influence; (3) a disposition to exert undue influence; and (4) a result indicating undue influence occurred.” Gmeiner v. Yacte, 100 Idaho 1, 607, 592 P.2d 57, 62-63 (1979).

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I HAVE AN ARBITRATION AWARD, NOW WHAT?

By Heidi Buck Morrison

Not every dispute plays out in a courtroom. Sometimes parties resolve their dispute through the process of arbitration. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves the parties bringing their dispute before either a panel of arbiters or a single arbiter. Often times, people choose arbitration for cost and time efficiency as it is usually cheaper and faster than litigation. It can also offer parties more privacy than litigation where documents filed with the court become public record.

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By Lane Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

For nearly 20 years I have been involved in estate planning and helping clients prepare their own personalized estate plans. During this time I have worked with many clients who have indicated to me their concerns about their children. Many times, my clients don’t have good relationships with their children. Sometimes this even includes children who are threatening or abusive towards their parents. In these instances, my clients often want to keep their estate-planning confidential so that their children will not learn what their plan is in distributing their assets after they pass away.

Because a person’s estate planning is their own personal property, they have every right to keep it confidential. Whenever I have a child of a client who wants to get a copy of their parents last will and testament or other estate planning documents, or when children are present when we are discussing these things, I always get permission from my clients before I provide any information or copies of documents to children. I also repeatedly remind my clients that their estate planning is their personal property and they have no obligation to share it with their family at all, including their children, if they choose not to do so.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an Idaho estate planning attorney I am always keeping an eye out for interesting articles about estate planning and how it helps individuals in their lives. I recently came across an article talking about how an older woman in Texas was taken advantage of by the company providing her lawn care service. Apparently, this woman had entered into a contract to pay about $3,600 each year for her lawn care services. However, the owner of the company discovered that this woman was in the beginning stages of dementia. As a result of this he took advantage of her and over charge her for the services provided. Over a five-year period, the services that should have cost just a little over $16,000 were actually charged at a rate of closer to $50,000. Fortunately, this deception was discovere, and the owner of the lawn care services was charged with several crimes. The article I read did not indicate whether he was forced to pay back the money that was taken from this woman.

After reading this article, and several like it, it reinforced eyes to me the importance of having a basic estate plan for each adult. One of the most important documents in a basic estate plan includes a durable power of attorney. Below are three common questions I often get from individuals about a power of attorney and how it can help them in their lives.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In a shocking news report, a 92 year old woman living in Arizona shot and killed her 72 year old son after she learned he wanted to place her in an assisted living facility. According to news agencies Anna Mae Blessing, a 92 year-old resident of Fountain Hills, Arizona, used two handguns to attack and kill her 72 year old son. She also attempted to shoot her son’s girlfriend who was able to save her own life by successfully removing the handguns from Blessing. As reported by the Charlotte Observer:

“This is definitely an odd one,” Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Bryant Vanegas told news agencies. “There’s a lot of circumstances surrounding it, of course, but it’s definitely something you don’t see every day and it’s very unfortunate that this took place.” Police responded to the home and found Blessing sitting in a recliner, and arrested her there after she continued to refuse to follow their orders, police said in a probable cause statement filed with the Court.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Believe me, I totally get it. Most children do not want to butt into the private lives of their parents. Additionally, even when problems begin to exist, both parents and children are often in denial. The problem is that everyone ages, and as they do they lose the ability to do the things that they were once able to do before. This can include taking care of themselves or their spouse.

The good news is that there are actually things you can do to determine if your parents need help. Additionally, there are things you can do to actually help your parents when they need it. But let’s not get the cart before the horse here. Below are ways that you can determine if you need to provide your parents with some help. Additionally, you will see suggestions on things that you can do that will specifically help your parents.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

My goal for each client is to complete their estate plan in the simplest and most efficient way possible. I believe that most people only need a simple plan without any embellishments or add-ons. I know I am more sensitive to recently because I’ve had several clients bring me large binders full of documents to review they received when they worked with other attorneys or financial providers. In reviewing these binders, I’ve found that about 90% of the documents in them are unnecessary.

An estate plan should be simple, and should have only what the client wants, and nothing more. At the Racine law office, we have provided Premier Idaho estate planning services for more than 70 years. Our goal is to understand and meet the specific and individual needs each client has. We do not insist that we provide our clients with large binders full of unneeded documents.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

The best part of estate planning for me is helping each individual client with their own specific needs. When I am done crafting an estate plan for a client, I know that it does exactly what my client wants because I spend the time helping my client understand each of the options available to them.  My clients then make informed and well-thought out decisions about what they actually want in the estate planning.

In going through this process I have found that misunderstandings about Living Wills and other end-of-life documents are common. The reality is there are many documents a person can choose from when it comes to making end-of-life decisions.  These documents may sound like they do the same things but they don’t.   The purpose of this article is to help you understand what each of the various end-of-life documents can do for you. The main end of life documents include the do-not-resuscitate form, commonly known as a DNR, a standard living will, and a Physician Order for Scope of Treatment that people most often call a POST form. Below is a discussion of these documents so that you will have a better understanding of which document or combination so documents may be right for you.

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

The statistics are alarming! According to a recent survey 92% of adults under the age of 36 do not have a Will or any other type of estate planning document completed. Millennials, whose ages range from about 20 to about 36 years old, make up this group of severely unprepared adults.

The reason for this is understandable. In fact, many of my Millennial clients often tell me that because they were so young they didn’t believe that they needed any estate planning. While it’s true that the millennial generation has different needs than older generations, they still need to get at least a basic estate plan completed. The reality is that there are two main reasons for each Millennial to get their estate planning done. These reasons are listed below.

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