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Four Questions to ask Your Pocatello Estate Planning Lawyer

To be done correctly estate-planning requires your attorney to focus on the details and be familiar with current law. There’s more to estate planning than just signing your name to some cookie cutter document. To satisfy applicable Idaho law, even basic estate planning needs to meet several formal requirements in order for the estate planning documents to be valid and legally binding on family and loved ones after you pass away. Because Idaho is a smaller state, there are a number of solo attorneys I don’t really focus on estate planning but dabble in it because their clients ask them to. It’s my experience that when you need a plumber you don’t call an electrician. Likewise, when you need an estate planning attorney you’re probably better off not using the attorney who also did your personal injury case. Rather, you’re going to want an attorney who understands and focuses on estate planning so that they will have the knowledge needed to answer your questions and me your specific and unique needs.

Our team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys have helped Pocatello clients for more than 70 years in creating and completing their personal estate plans. And doing this we have gained the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to assist each of our clients with their unique and personal needs. Also, and utilizing a team approach, you are assured that there will always be a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney who can answer your questions and can help you with your needs. The attorneys on our team include partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. All the attorneys on our estate planning team have obtained the highest ratings possible on several leading legal ranking services which include AVVO, Justia, and Martindale-Hubbell.

Our goal is to provide you with the expert estate planning assistance that you need to be assured that your plan is correct and will work for you. If you are considering hiring an attorney to assist you with your estate planning here are four basic questions you should ask to determine if an attorney has the skills and ability to help you.  

1. What Percentage of Your Practice is Focused on Estate Planning?

Perhaps the most important question that you should ask first is what percentage of the attorney’s practice is focused on doing estate planning. The reason behind this question is to help you determine whether this individual focuses on estate planning, or whether they dabble in it. You don’t want an attorney who says that they do “some” estate planning or that they “occasionally” do estate planning for clients. You should also avoid hiring an attorney who tells you that estate planning is simple or that it’s not that hard to do. The only attorneys that would tell you this would be those who use a specific form for every client regardless of what their individual needs might be. Rather If you are looking to hire an attorney to help you with your estate planning You should hire an estate planning.

Keep in mind that if you were to ask an attorney this question and they get defensive about the work they do this should be a red flag to you that you may not want to hire that attorney. To be sure, estate planning really is not that difficult for attorneys who do estate planning. These attorneys have the skills knowledge and experience necessary to understand the nuances of Estate Planning and what can be done to help you and your particular needs. However, the more an attorney says that estate planning is simple and easy, the last that you should trust that that attorney knows what they are doing.

2. What do You Include in an Estate Plan?

Perhaps the most basic question that you should ask an attorney you are considering hiring to help you with your estate planning is what they include as documents in the estate plan. Estate planning is as unique as each individual is. No two people need exactly the same things in their estate planning. However, there are some common documents that every person should have as a basic estate plan or a starting place for their estate planning. These documents include: (1) a last will and testament; (2) a durable power of attorney; (3) a living will; and (4) a health care power of attorney. In addition to these core documents there are other estate planning documents that you may also need. If you are planning on providing for an individual who is disabled, you may need a supplemental needs trust. Likewise, if you are the parent of young children you may need a minor’s trust together with a guardianship to care for your children. If you believe that you yourself are becoming disabled, you may want to take special care in crafting the powers of attorney that you may need for yourself while you were alive.

In addition to these things, if you are a business owner or if you have assets that are located in many States including real estate, your estate planning needs will also be different. It may be helpful for you to utilize other estate planning tools including Trusts, LLCss, Partnerships, and other legal options that can be put in place to accomplish what you need.

Attorneys who dabble in estate planning are not going to understand the nuances that will help you. More particularly, an attorney who does not focus on estate planning will not have the skills or the expertise necessary to understand what your unique needs are, and help you craft your estate planning documents to meet those needs.  

3. How do You Charge for Work?

Another important question to ask an attorney you are considering hiring to help you with your estate planning is how they will charge you for the work they do. When we work with a client we provide them with our confidential estate planning questionnaire. We use this document to gather information about each potential client so that we can understand a little more about what their particular needs may be. When we complete review using the estate planning questionnaire we then have the ability to describe to our clients the options that are available to them. After understanding what options our clients are considering we have the ability to provide a flat fee quote for the work that could be provided for them in a publishing and completing their estate plan.

Our experience is that those attorneys who “dabble” in estate planning usually can’t provide this kind of service. In other words, if your attorney cannot tell you a flat fee quote or a price range that they will charge you to complete your estate planning documents you should look elsewhere.  

4. Is Probate Included in Your Practice?

The final question that you should ask the estate planning attorney you were considering using as whether part of their practice also involves probate. Estate Planning and probate go hand-in-hand. Estate planning is the creation of the documents that are used by an individual to provide protection to them during their life and well after they have passed. Probate is the legal process and procedure that is used to utilize the estate planning documents to carry out the instructions and specific wishes of the client.

Probate is a little more involved and takes more time than creating the estate plan does. For this reason, if your attorney says that all they do is a estate planning, but they do not do probate work you should consider using a different attorney. You should utilize an attorney who is already familiar with your estate planning who can then assist your family with probate work when needed. More importantly, you are going to want an attorney who understands what your family’s needs are and will carry out the probate in the correct way.

We take pride in the fact that our team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys have assisted thousands of clients for more than 70 years. In completing their estate plans and in assisting with the probate process. We are confident that through our skill, experience, and knowledge we can help you and your family 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 consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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