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Do I Really Need an Estate Plan if I Have no Estate

We have assisted our clients in creating custom Idaho estate plans for over 70 years. During this time we have worked with clients who have different problems and properties, some being large, and some being small. Regardless of the size of your problems or properties there are always basic needs that every single individual has that can be met through a well-crafted Idaho estate plan.

We are confident that our Idaho estate planning team of attorneys can assist you. Our team of estate planning lawyers consists of partners Randy Budge, and Lane Erickson, and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our attorneys has received the highest ratings possible on several legal rating services, including Martindale and Hubbell, AVVO, and Justia. Given our experience we believe that every client can benefit from having a customized Idaho state plan. When considering completing your estate plan here are 3 things that you should understand and think about:

1. What is an “Estate”

When it comes to estate planning, the first thing that you really need to understand is what is an estate? We have found through our experience that most people have a limited understanding of what their estate is. As attorneys who help individuals complete their Idaho State planning one of our first goals is to help our clients understand what it means to have an estate.

When most people hear the word “estate” they think of some old rich guy sitting next to a pool wearing large gold watch, who is extremely wealthy. This is not the case at all. In Idaho, an estate consists of everything that a person owns, and everything that that person owes. Another words and a state consists of all assets and debts together. As a result of this, every adult in Idaho has an estate whether they believe they do or not. Because of this, estate planning can be crucial in providing guidance in how an individual deals with both their debts and assets.

2. Estate Planning is More Than Giving You Things Away When You die

Having established now what an estate is, the next most important thing for a person to understand is that estate planning is more than just giving your things away when you die. Rather, it provides you an opportunity to remain in complete control of your property and to protect yourself while you are alive.

In Idaho, as with most states, the law protects an individual and gives them the ability to make decisions about how they handle their own debts and assets. For example, if you have money in the bank and decided that you wanted to go down to Las Vegas and gamble, the law in Idaho would protect you and would give you the ability to do this. Additionally, you are also free to enter into any kind of debt that you choose. However, the question always arises what happens if you suddenly lose the ability to take care of your own money, debts, and property?

This type of situation happens more and more because individuals are living longer now than they ever have before. An accident or illness can create a situation where a person can no longer understand what is going on around them or take care of themselves, their finances or their daily life decisions. Alzheimer's, strokes, and other illnesses or injuries occur regularly. When this type of situation arises, the law in Idaho requires a legal guardianship to happen in order for a court to appoint and give authority to another individual to care for the impaired individual and their finances, property and debts. A legal guardianship is a court proceeding that involves at least two attorneys, could involve several doctors, and also involves the family members and the individual themselves. It is often time-consuming, and expensive.

Part of estate planning is to create powers of attorney while a person has the ability to make decisions for themselves. This gives them the ability to name individuals that they want who will take care of them and their debts, property and assets in the event they can no longer do it themselves. When a valid power of attorney exists, the need for a guardianship court proceeding is no longer necessary.

3. Estate Planning Reduces Your Expenses and Family Contentions

The third thing to understand is that completing your estate planning can actually save you money in the end. As described above, if you do not have a proper power of attorney in place a guardianship court proceeding may be required by the state of Idaho. A guardianship proceeding easily cost 2 to 3 times more than getting a complete estate plan done. Keep in mind that a guardianship proceeding only deals with protecting that individual and their money and property while they are alive. It has nothing to do with where that property or money will go when the individual passes away.

A complete estate plan both protects an individual while they are alive and gives that individual the ability to create their own last will and testament which will distribute their property when they die. In other words, a complete estate plan provides protection and instruction both while a person is alive and after they pass away.

Through all the experiences that we have had in helping families complete their estate planning, we have found that it is much less expensive to do this, than having to go through other court proceedings that are expensive. More importantly, the expenses can often be overshadowed by disagreements and fights that often occur within a family. Having a valid estate plan in place almost always reduces the friction, or disagreements that can arise between family members.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

We are confident that our Idaho Estate Planning lawyers can help you. Whether you are seeking to create or review your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member do the same, 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. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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