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POCATELLO ESTATE PLANNING – WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE NO HEIRS

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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.

  1. To Protect Yourself While You Are Alive

While it’s true that estate planning does have to do with giving your money, property, and other assets away after you die. This is not the only reason for estate planning. Rather, perhaps the most important reason to get your estate planning done is so that you can provide a specific plan of protection for yourself while you are alive.

Under current Idaho law every single person who is a an adult and who has legal capacity can make whatever decisions they want about their own property, finances, and other assets while they are alive. The key here is having legal capacity. This simply means that a person has the mental, and emotional ability to take care of and deal with their own property, money, assets and debts. The problem is, that not all adults have legal capacity. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s an injury or an illness which is Alzheimer’s that reduces or eliminates that adults legal capacity. If an adult no longer has the ability to make decisions than the lawn Idaho steps in to protect them if they have not taken the steps to protect themselves first.

Is part of a basic estate plan an individual will receive a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. These specific documents give a person the legal ability to name others who will take care of their money property assets and creditors if they can no longer do these things themselves.

If a person has not completed their estate plan, and as a result do not have these additional documents to protect them while they are alive, then the lawn Idaho requires a legal guardian to be named for them if they lose capacity. By having the court step in you lose the ability to make a decision about who you want to appoint to do these things for you. This is because the court itself will make the decision about who will be appointed. If you find yourself in a situation where you have no heirs you Still have the ability to name a close friend or other person who could do these things for you. In other words, you are still in control to choose who you want, rather than have the court appoint somebody you don’t know.

The bottom line is that you are in the best position to make a decision about who can help you if you need it. Based on this, we always suggest that each person make a decision about who they would list to do these things for them if they need the help so they can avoid having a stranger or some other person appointed by a court.

  1. You Do Not Want Your Estate to Go to the Government

The next major reason that you should get your estate planning done is so that you can control where your money, property, and other assets of your estate are distributed after you die. If you die and in fact have no written last will and testament or other estate planning documents in place, and the law determines that you have no errors, then the government has a right to take everything held in your estate. Most people would agree that the government already owns plenty of these things. There’s no reason why your estate should get into the hands of the government. By completing even a basic estate plan can, you can avoid any situation where the government would end up in control of your money, property or other assets.

  1. You Can Distribute Your Estate in Ways That Will Help Others

Find a reason that you should get your estate planning done, even if you believe you have no heirs, is that you can choose worthy Charities or other groups to leave your estate to that will end up helping many people. Even if you truly have no family or heirs, you can still benefit somebody else’s life in a positive way. Choosing worthy Charities or charitable purposes that you believe in is a noble way that your life and legacy can be remembered and carried on.

ENLIST A POCATELLO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

Even if you have no heirs, we can help. When it comes to estate planning or probate you should never try to do it alone. If you have questions for yourself or for your family and loved ones, 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 Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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