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Bulletproof Your Idaho Estate Plan

As I was meeting with a client and discussing his estate planning, he made the comment to me that he wanted to make sure that his estate plan was "Bulletproof". His statement got me thinking about what it takes to make sure that your estate planning is complete and that it will meet your specific and unique needs. Our goal as estate planning attorneys is not to turn out a cookie cutter estate plans but rather to customize your estate planning to meet your specific needs.

At the Racine law office, we have been providing customized estate plans to clients for more than 70 years. We accomplish meeting our estate planning client's needs by utilizing a team of knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who completely understand Idaho estate planning law. Our team of attorneys consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley each of whom have received the highest ratings possible from the most prestigious legal ranking services that exist, including Martindale-Hubbell, Justia, and AVVO.

So, what exactly does it take to properly complete your Idaho estate plan? After considering this for some time here are the three things that I suggest each person seeking estate planning can do to make sure that their Idaho estate plan is "Bulletproof".

1. Get Your Idaho Estate Planning Documents Done

This may seem like a silly thing to state but the number one thing that each individual should do is actually complete their estate planning documents. It is amazing to me the number of adults who come to me with very specific circumstances where estate planning could help them, but they do not have their estate planning documents done. Even if all you do is get the basic estate planning documents completed, you have done more than two-thirds of the adults around you.

So, what are the basic estate planning documents? The basic estate planning documents that every adult in Idaho should have consist of the following: a last will and testament; a durable power of attorney; a living will; and a healthcare power of attorney.

The last will and testament is the document most people are familiar with. This document allows you to provide specific instruction about who you want to give your property away to after you die. A last will and testament only becomes effective after you die. Before that time, you are able to change it as often as you like and, in any way that you like to make sure that it meets your current needs.

A durable power of attorney is the next estate planning document that you should have. It is a document that is used while you are alive. This document gives you the ability to authorize some other person to do the same things for you that you normally do for yourself such as take care of your bank accounts and other finances, deal with your property, pay your bills and deal with your creditors, and take care of all of your other daily life activities. If you do not have a durable power of attorney and you suddenly became incapacitated by either an illness or an injury, the courts in Idaho will require your family to do a guardianship proceeding for you so that someone could be legally named and authorized by the court to take care of these things for you.

A living will is an estate planning document where you get to provide specific written instructions to your doctors and health care providers as you near the end of your life. This document gives you the ability to tell your doctors and Physicians whether you do or do not want to be kept on life support which would artificially extend your life. This document only becomes effective if you have a terminal condition, your death is imminent, and you cannot communicate with your Physicians to tell them what you want to do. In this instance, you have provided written instructions ahead of time that your Physicians can review to understand what your desires are and whether you want to be kept alive artificially.

A health care power of attorney is the last basic estate planning document that is very narrow in scope. This document allows you to name an individual who will make healthcare and medical decisions for you if you are unable to make these for yourself. If you were incapacitated due to illness or injury, then the person you name in your health care power of attorney would be able to decide which doctors that you see, the medicines that you take, the medical procedures that you may receive, and ultimately if needed, which Assisted Living Center you would live in.

Together these 4 documents make up your basic estate plan. Other individuals may also use other specialized estate planning options such as trusts, corporations, partnerships, foundations and the like. However, for most people, the 4 basic documents listed above are adequate.

2. Purchase a Pre-Paid and Pre-Planned Funeral

After completing your basic estate planning documents, the next most important thing that you can do would be to purchase a prepaid and pre-plan funeral. The reason for this is because if you do not do this then your family may be required to dip into any money or assets you leave in your estate to pay for these funeral expenses. Additionally, your family will also be making the final decisions about your funeral or memorial services. By having a prepaid and pre-plan funeral you are taking both the expenses and the planning of these things out of the hands of your family. Given that they will likely be mourning your loss, and the fact that they may have no idea what it is you would have liked, you take this burden off the shoulders of your family and provide them with specific instructions about what will be done.

My experience is that when individuals get a prepaid and pre-plan funeral their family is usually very grateful. This simplifies the things that must be done immediately after a loved one's death, which usually gives the family an opportunity to grieve together.

3. Plan to Live a Long Life and Review Your Resources

The final step that you can take to bulletproof your estate planning is to make sure that you plan to live a long life and that you are resources will be adequate to take care of you. As a society, we are living longer now than we ever have before. Based on recent studies, If a person has lived to the age of 65 there is a 43% chance that they will live into their mid-90s. As time goes on, these percentages simply go up. As a result of this, we encourage each individual to meet and plan with a financial planner so that they will have a clear understanding of how long their resources will last during their life and whether there may be any resources leftover that can then be inherited by their family and loved ones.

By accomplishing these three steps, your estate plan will be complete, thorough, and Bulletproof. Most importantly, you will have the peace of mind and knowing that you have a plan in place that will provide for you and for your family and loved ones after you pass. We have helped numerous clients reach this stage in their planning, and we are confident that we can help you too!

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Idaho estate plan or with your probate needs. Whether you are seeking your own customized Estate Plan or need a Probate for a loved one who has passed, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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