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How to Start Your Idaho Estate Planning the Estate Planning Questionnaire

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Lawyer

The goal of our premier team of Idaho estate planning attorneys is to help you create a customized estate plan that will meet your specific needs. Our team has assisted clients for over 70 years in creating customized estate plans and in helping families through the probate process after a family member or loved one has passed away.

In talking with people about estate planning, I’ve come to realize that the reason that most people don’t get their estate planning done is because they don’t have any idea where to begin. Most people find that once they actually start the process of getting their estate planning done it’s not nearly as difficult as they believed it would be.

To help our clients get started and to make the process as easy as possible for our clients, we have crafted a customized Estate Planning Questionnaire that we use to gather information about our clients and about what it is they want to accomplish. We then review this Estate Planning Questionnaire with our clients during a consultation. By doing this, we have the ability of explaining the options that exist for each of our clients based on their unique circumstances and needs. Once we know what it is our clients want to accomplish, we can then provide a flat fee price to help them complete their estate planning. When the consultation is over, our clients have all the information they need, including the costs, in order to make a decision about getting their estate planning done, and whether they would like to hire us to do this for them.

You can review our customized estate planning questionnaire by clicking on the following link: Estate Planning Questionnaire.

Many of our clients have told us that our questionnaire has made the process very easy for them. To give you a better understanding about why this is so, below is a short description of the information that our customized Estate Planning Questionnaire helps you gather together.

Information About You

The first thing that we do is we gather specific information about you. This would include your full legal name, whether or not you are married, when you were born, and some information about where you live. This information is helpful because it helps us determine what stage of life you are in. In other words, if by looking at your information we determine that you are a young person, we will then be looking to other sections of the questionnaire about unique circumstances that may exist for you, such as whether or not you are married, whether you have young children, and so forth.

Alternatively, if you are older, and you have no children living at home anymore, your estate planning needs are going to be far different. By getting a better understanding about you individually, we have the ability to then work to customize an estate plan for your specific needs. Our goal is to avoid the cookie cutter approach when it comes to estate planning. Rather, we simply want to provide the estate plan that you need personally.

Information About Your Children and Beneficiaries

The next type of information that we gather on the estate planning questionnaires about your children and other beneficiaries that you may want to leave money, property, or other assets to after you have passed away. By getting an understanding about your family, and the ages of your children and their circumstances, as well as any other beneficiaries that you want to list, we can craft an estate plan that will accomplish exactly what you want to do.

Additionally, if you do have younger children or if you have children who have disabilities, handicaps, addictions, or other circumstances in their lives that are unique, this helps us understand whether creating a testamentary trust may be useful as part of your estate plan. Again, our goal is to meet the specific needs you have considering your family and other beneficiaries.

Personal Representative

In addition to the above, our estate planning questionnaire specifically guides you through the process of determining who your personal representative could or should be. Our questionnaire provides information about what a personal representative is and what it is they are required to do after you pass away. By educating you about the things a personal representative is required to accomplish, you are able then to choose the individuals you want to name as your personal representative. Furthermore, we give you the ability to name successors who will become your personal representative if the first person you have chosen is unable or unwilling to do it.

Powers of Attorney

Our estate planning questionnaire also guide you through the process of selecting the individuals you want to appoint as your power of attorney over you property and finances and your separate power of attorney for your medical and healthcare. The information in our questionnaire explains why these Powers of Attorney are important, and how they can help you through your lifetime.

Most people are familiar with a last will and testament. In fact when most people say estate planning it is the last will and testament that they think about. Most people don’t understand that these Powers of Attorney are even more important than your last will and testament. The reason for this is that your Powers of Attorney could have an impact on your life while you are alive. In contrast, your last will and testament only becomes valid at your death. For this reason, we spend a good deal of time talking with our clients during the consultation about their Powers of Attorney and how these documents can help protect them during their lifetime.

Do You Need a Trust

Another section of our estate planning questionnaire discusses whether or not you need a trust. There have been many times that clients have come to my office to show me the estate plan they received from another attorney or from an online company or software. Usually, I find that these plans involve extensive and complex trusts and other estate planning documents that really are unnecessary. Our estate planning questionnaire takes you through a series of specific questions, and provides a description for you of the four main reasons that trusts are used by individuals. Through this process, we are able to help you determine whether or not a trust could be a helpful and important part of your estate plan.

Most importantly, this portion of our estate planning questionnaire helps us eliminate any documents that you really do not need. Our goal is to provide you with the least complex estate plan that accomplishes your specific needs.

Plan of Distribution

The final thing that our estate planning questionnaire can help you with is determining what your plan of distribution will be upon your death. Through a series of questions, you are guided through the choices that you have. Additionally, you are given the ability to leave us with specific instructions about things that you would like to accomplish. Once we have this information we can then craft a customized last will and testament that will be specific about the distributions you want to accomplish.

As I mentioned above, we have found that the clients who use our Estate Planning Questionnaire find the process of getting their estate planning completed to be much simpler than they ever imagined. We are confident that our estate planning questionnaire can easily guide you through this process too.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. 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 consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation. You can also email us directly at or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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