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WHAT IS THE TRUST AND ESTATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION ACT?

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Over my 20-plus year career as an estate planning attorney I have had several clients come to me wanting to know if they can do something different than what the Will or Trust says is supposed to be done that was left by their parent, or their spouse, or by some other family member or loved one who has passed away. In other words, they want to know if they are strictly bound by the Will or Trust they are faced with.

The answer is most likely yes, however, it is possible that they may be able to change the distribution or plans that are set forth in a Will or Trust through Idaho’s TEDRA statutes. TEDRA is an acronym that stands for the Idaho Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act. TEDRA is designed to be used by individuals both when a dispute arises and when there is no dispute. Despite its name, the statute itself specifically holds that there doesn’t have to be an actual dispute in order for TEDRA to apply under certain circumstances. Additionally, the idea behind this statute is to provide a non-judicial resolution (which means no court litigation) between persons that arise in an estate administration to save time and money. The statute is found at Idaho Code §§ 15-8-101 et seq.

For example, let’s say that a well meeting parent decided that they wanted to leave their entire estate to one of their five children. However, once that parent has passed away, let’s say that one child doesn’t feel right about receiving the entire estate and wants to make a fair and even distribution to the other children. In this instance, all those children could sign a TEDRA agreement and this would allow a distribution to be made through probate to all five of the children rather than to just one.

The key is that a binding agreement has to be written and signed by all affected parties. This agreement must set out exactly what the changes are that are being made to the written Will or Trust that is being administered. That agreement then must be filed with the court. Normally, once the agreement is filed the statutes indicate that it will be deemed approved by the court and is equivalent to a final court order binding on all persons interested in the estate or trust.

Again, this is normally accomplished without the necessity of having any hearings or any type of judicial proceedings. However, there are some limited circumstances, where judicial approval is required. These circumstances may include when a beneficiary whose rights are being affected by the TEDRA is a minor, or someone who is disabled, or if a potential beneficiary is not yet born.

TEDRA is a wonderful tool that can be useful in many circumstances when it comes to the administration of a Will or Trust. I’ve had decades of experience in working with clients and handling TEDRA agreements. If you have questions or concerns about whether a TEDRA agreement would be useful in your circumstances, I’m confident that I can answer your questions and help you too!

ENLIST AN IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  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 Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lane@racineolson.com. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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