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Distributing Property Upon Your Death

Our experienced and knowledgeable Idaho Estate Planning Attorneys help you decide who will receive your money and property when you pass away through your personalized estate planning. Our Lawyers in Idaho work with clients to prepare a customized written plan for each individual in order to determine and define who their beneficiaries will be and how property will be distributed when they pass. Our experience is that after we have helped our clients they feel peace of mind knowing they have a plan in place that they have designed.  

Each person’s estate consists of the money and property that is owned by them when they pass away. Our Attorneys in Idaho work diligently to customize an estate plan for each client to assure that their final wishes are accomplished, including making distributions according to our client’s instructions. Our team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson, and attorneys Matt Stucki, Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley. We have received the highest ratings from Martindale and Hubbell, AVVO and Justia based upon our knowledge and skills. We are confident that our team can help you complete your customized plan.

The Importance of Naming Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the people you have named in your written estate plan who will receive your money or property when you pass away. These individuals are usually named in documents such as your Last Will and Testament or in a Trust that you have created. These persons will receive the specific assets you describe and designate including such things cash money, homes, land as bank accounts. There are other Beneficiaries that you need to be aware of because you are able to name individuals for a broad range of assets, including retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance and other insurance policies. These assets fall outside of your Estate Planning and are not covered by your Last Will and Testament. Rather, these types of assets are controlled by the contract you signed with the company that holds these assets, accounts and contracts. On these contracts you can name different types of Beneficiaries such as individuals, charities, and/or trusts.

When it comes to minors, or individuals under the age of majority -- which in Idaho is age 18 -- you need to make specific decisions about how to give property and money to them. In many instances it is better to set up a Minor’s Trust that will hold the money and/or property for the minor and will make distributions on their behalf for their benefit, until they reach a certain age. When the minor reaches the age that you designate, then the trustee can make a distribution of money or property directly to that individual.  

When you name a person as a recipient, in your Last Will and Testament, typically, a probate will need to occur before the property or other assets you designate can be transferred. However, your retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance policies and other accounts can pass directly to the people you name and won’t have to go through probate. In addition, even if you’ve put in your Last Will and Testament, that you want your retirement plans, annuities, and life insurance policies to go to a specific person, the contract you have with the Company that holds that contract, and the people that you name therein, will override bequests you’ve made in your will. Understanding these differences will help you in naming your Beneficiaries in each of these documents.

Be Specific With Your Beneficiary Designations

Some people have a trusted friend or relative, and are tempted to name him or her as their Beneficiary. They do this assuming that their trusted friend or relative would “know” how to distribute their assets in accordance with their wishes to their actual family members or other individuals. We have found through our experiences that his is a bad idea.  

It’s possible that your trusted friend or relative won’t actually “know” precisely how you’d want those assets distributed. Also, your trusted friend or relative may simply decide to keep all of your assets for themselves, and they would be protected by the law in doing so. Even if your trusted friend or relative intends to distribute the inherited assets to others the way you would have wanted, those assets will be considered part of your trusted friend’s or relative’s estate if he or she passed away shortly after you. If the distributions are not completed before your friend passes away, then they will be considered their property and not yours.

The best practice is to just be specific with naming people in your customized Idaho estate plan. If you want assets to go to a particular person or to a group of people, list them directly in the Beneficiary designation form or name them directly in your last will and testament. Most forms allow you to name single or multiple primary recipient and/or contingent (secondary) beneficiaries and to specify what percentage of assets you’d like distributed to each person you list upon your death. Your last will and testament certainly allows you to do this.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

There are many ways that having an complete Estate Plan will help you make sure the people you name as your beneficiaries receive your property and/or money. The Idaho Attorneys at the Racine Law Office are here to help you and your family when you need it the most. We are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team of attorneys in Idaho. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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