By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney
I have worked as an estate planning attorney for many years. During this time, and after having assisted numerous estate planning clients, I have learned that there are really 3 problems with Idaho estate planning. (To be clear, there actually are far more than just 3 problems that exist when it comes Idaho estate planning, but I’m going to focus on what I believe are the 3 biggest problems that I see come up again and again.)
Problem #1 – Ignorance of What is Needed
The first big problem that I see when it comes to estate planning is that clients are ignorant of what really is needed to complete an estate plan. This ignorance comes in two ways. First, clients simply don’t know what documents are needed to have a complete estate plan. Most individuals believe that having a last will and testament is all that is necessary. However, as I have pointed out in other blogs, a complete estate plan actually consists of three specific documents. These documents are: (1) a last will and testament; (2) a durable power of attorney; and (3) a living will coupled with a power of attorney for health care.
The reason that these documents are needed is that a last will and testament only becomes effective and valid after you die. However, while you are alive it may be necessary for you to protect yourself with the other documents listed above. These documents give you the ability to provide specific protections for yourself, and to avoid what could be expensive and relationship destroying experiences among your own family members.
The second way ignorance of what is needed can cause a problem is that I often find that individuals attempt to do their own estate planning themselves. They do this either completely by themselves, or sometimes by using either and online kit or a software kid that they can obtain at a local office supply store. When this occurs, I often find that the documents that are prepared are invalid based on Idaho law. Alternatively even if the documents are valid, often we find that they are lacking some of the decisions and directions that should be given.
Problem #2 – Ignorance About the Costs
The second big problem that I often see when it comes to estate planning is that individuals are ignorant about the costs of completing an estate plan. Many individuals believe that getting estate planning done through a lawyer or a law office is going to be expensive. However as I stated above, I’ve found that most people who try to save money by doing an estate plan themselves end up spending more to get it corrected or fixed than if they would have simply come to our office in the first place.
Additionally, if an individual makes a mistake in their Estate Planning, and the documents are not valid, the costs of getting the estate plan done is lost money because it did not complete what the individual intended. Most importantly, having a valid and complete estate plan can effectively save an individual and their family a good deal of money down the road later. This is true because having a valid estate plan can avoid the cost of a guardianship or conservatorship hearing which may be required if an individual becomes incapacitated. It also avoids any costly legal fights that your family can get into if they do not agree on how you should be cared for.
Problem #3 – Procrastination
The third of the big three problems that I often come across is simply procrastination. We totally understand that people don’t like thinking about their own death or incapacity. However, failing to plan for these things can result in a disastrous situation for yourself and your family. We take pride in our ability as attorneys to look down the road of the future and to consider the worst things that could happen, and to create a valid estate plan that will protect you from each of these things. If you have questions about your estate planning we are confident that we can help you.
Enlist the Help of an Estate Planning Attorney
A basic estate plan can help you overcome the biggest problems with estate planning. If you have any questions about completing your own estate plan or an estate plan for a family member of friend, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.