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Four Questions About Pocatello Wills

For over 70 years our experienced Pocatello estate planning attorneys have helped numerous clients create their own customized Pocatello estate plan. During this time we have received and answered many questions about Wills. A last will and testament is the estate planning document we find that most people are familiar with. This is because most people have heard about them from friends or have seen them on TV or in movies. The reality about Wills is usually different that what most people know. At it’s most basic a last will and testament is the legal document that is used to allow a person to state who they want their property, money, and other valuable assets to go to as a gift after they die.

At the Racine Law Firm, our highly respected team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys has both the knowledge and experience needed to assist clients with their own estate plan. Each estate plan usually includes a last will and testament. Our team of Pocatello lawyers is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Out attorneys have each been reviewed by other attorneys, judges, but most importantly our actual clients. With the skills and experience our team has, we are confident that we can help you.

A last will and testament is an important part of each person’s Pocatello estate plan. Based on this, our goal is to help each client know how a last will and testament can help them. Here are four common questions that are clients frequently asked us about how a last will and testament works, and whether they will need one as a part of their Pocatello estate plan.

1. Will the Government Get My Property If I Don’t Have a Will?

Many of our clients mistakenly believe that f they do not have a last will and testament somehow all of their property will end up going to the government after they die. It is important to understand that this is not true. The laws in Idaho, including specific statutes, actually create and give to each person a sort of “default” last will and testament when they do not have one for themselves. These are the intestacy statutes.

Even without a written last will and testament your money, property, and other assets will likely be distributed through the laws of intestacy. The problem is the distributions that are made without a written last will and testament likely will not be what you want. Property can be given to family members you don’t want it to go to. Additionally without an actual written last will and testament, you cannot nominate the person or people you want to be named as your personal representative after you die. Further, without a written last will and testament, family fights over who gets which assets can easily occur. By creating your own written last will and testament you have more control and can make sure that your specific wishes and instructions are carried out after you are gone.

2. Is a Will Even Necessary if I Have a Trust?

Several clients wonder whether they need a last will and testament if they have a written trust as part of their estate plan. The short answer to this question is yes! The last will and testament may still be necessary to distribute property not controlled by your trust, either into your trust or to other beneficiaries.

We often find that many people who have a trust set up haven’t done anything to actually fund the trust by transferring assets into it before they die. Additionally, even if you have funded your trust, you may have other assets outside of your trust because you are still alive you may still be obtaining assets, money, or property outside of your trust after it was created. For both of these reasons we suggest that each person still have a pour-over will in addition to having their trust. With a pour over will each person with a trust is able to make sure that all of their property will be transferred into the trust before being distributed.

3. Can I Keep My Will Private?

Another question we are often asked after assisting a client in completing their Pocatello estate planning is whether they can keep their last will and testament private. In other words, they may not want their spouse or children to read it until after they die. The answer to this question is yes. Estate planning is the personal property owned by the person who creates it. As a result, they are not required to disclose what is in their last will and testament. Additionally, they are not required to share copies of it or even what is contained in it with any other person.

To be clear, however, many times we recommend that our clients share their last will and testament with their spouse and maybe with their children. The reason is because in these estate planning documents our clients have named people to do specific things such as serving as the personal representative or as a guardian over minor children. The law cannot not require any person to serve in any appointment made in a last will and testament or in other documents in their estate plan. For this reason, if a person doesn’t share their intentions with those individuals to help with their estate, they may say no.

Any person can refuse to do what is asked of them in a last will and testament. When this happens, the person’s estate planning could be frustrated. A client may end up with a person that they would have never chosen as their personal representative simply because they failed to share their estate planning with those they wanted to be their personal representative. By sharing their estate planning with these individuals our clients can get their reaction and possibly their assurance that they are willing to serve in whatever capacity they are asked.

4. Can I Avoid Probate with a Will?

Lastly, clients sometimes ask us whether having a last will and testament will help them avoid probate. The answer is no. Avoiding probate is not the purpose of a last will and testament. Rather a last will and testament is a document used to identify who you want to be named as your beneficiaries that you are giving your money, property, and valuable assets to after you die. Additionally, it is used to name a personal representative who will complete the probate. Probate is the legal procedure where your last will and testament is carried out and enforced by a Court. It is through probate that the individual you nominated as the is personal representative legally appointed.

Probate will be required for your estate in Pocatello if you die when you own land or a home regardless of whether you have a written last will and testament or not. Further, probate in Pocatello is required anytime you have assets in your estate worth $100,000 or more regardless of whether your estate includes land or a home. The purpose of a last will and testament is to provide some guidance and assistance in the probate process to make sure that your intentions and wishes are carried out.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Pocatello lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning needs including creating a last will and testament. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems.

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