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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

For nearly 2o years, I have been lucky enough to work at the Racine law office, which I considered to be the premier Idaho estate planning law firm. At this law office, the team of knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorneys has assisted clients for over 70 years in meeting all of their unique and individual estate planning needs.

Given my current age, I can tell you from both professional and personal experience that every individual needs to complete their own estate plan to provide protections for themselves while they are alive and to care for their family and loved ones after they pass away. The purposes of estate planning are far greater than simply giving away your property to other individuals after you die. Rather estate planning is designed to provide the ultimate protection for you and for your family too.

Here are the five specific steps that smart people to complete their Idaho estate planning. You should seriously consider taking these steps for yourself.

  1. Get a Durable Power of Attorney

Perhaps the most important step that you can complete is getting your own durable power of attorney done. The reason for this is that the power of attorney is designed to give you the ability to name an individual who will step into your shoes to do all the things for you that you do for yourself if you ever become incapacitated. For example, if you have Alzheimer’s disease, or you suffer a stroke, or have some other injury or illness eliminate your ability to care for your own personal needs, including your finances and property, your durable power of attorney gives you the ability to name someone who will do this for you. If you do not have a power of attorney in place and any of these things happen, the only way that an individual has the legal authority to do these things for you is through expensive court proceedings. Even through corporate sitting there is no guarantee that the person you would want will be named to be your legal guardian. By completing your durable power of attorney, you are in complete control of who is appointed and what it is they are able to do for you.

  1. Get a Power of Attorney for Health Care

Similarly, a power of attorney for health care is vitally important. If you can no longer understand, or communicate your instructions to your health care providers, and individual will need to be appointed who can do this for you. By having a power of attorney for health care, you get to name the individual who will make these decisions for you. This is important because you more than likely will want to name someone who lives physically close to where you live. This is because this individual will likely be taking you to the doctor, sitting in the room with you with the doctor, and communicating with the doctor about what it is that will occur.

  1. Get a Will

The next most important part of estate planning is to create your own last will and testament. This is the document that only becomes affected after you die. Its purpose is to do nothing more than to distribute money, property, and assets to those you choose. if you do not have a written last will and testament, your money, property, and assets will be distributed based on the laws of intestacy. These are statutes that provide specific designations of who receives your stuff. It’s possible that the laws of intestacy would distribute your property or money to those individuals you would not want to receive it. For this reason, having a written last will and testament is very important for you to make sure that your final wishes are carried out.

  1. Name a Guardian for Minor-Aged Children

Another important use of a last will and testament is naming a guardian for any young children you have. In your last will and testament, you have the ability to nominate and name individuals who will be the legal guardians of your minor age to children. You also have the ability to create a trust that will care for the minor age children until they reach and age as an adult where you feel they are capable of taking control and ownership of whatever money, property, and ask that you have left to them. Without a written last will and testament all of these items will be automatically distributed to your children when they reach the age of 18. Most of my clients indicate that they do not want someone who is 18 years old receiving a chunk of money, or property. Rather, most clients want to wait until their children are older so that they will have the maturity and experience that will help them care for those items when they finally do take control and ownership of them.

  1. Find a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

The final step that you should consider is using a qualified Idaho estate planning attorney to help you. The first four steps listed above are very specific with regards to legal requirements that are necessary to make them effective. If you attempt to do your estate planning on your own, it’s possible that you can make a mistake that will completely invalidate the documents that you have created. By using the services of a qualified Idaho estate planning attorney, you will be assured that the documents you have will be legally valid, and will carry out your wishes and instructions.


If you do not have an estate plan in place, 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 We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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