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How Your Pocatello Estate Plan can Keep Your Family From Fighting

By Lane V. Erickson, Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney

In the 20 years that I have been doing Estate Planning in the Pocatello area I have yet to meet an individual who says that their primary goal with their estate planning is to make sure that their family fights over their property, money, and assets. Rather, almost every client I talk to who has concerns about their family, asks what can be done to make sure that they don’t fight over their estate after they are gone. One of the primary goals of Pocatello estate planning is to help an individual know that their plan will keep their family from fighting after they pass away. Most of these clients have witnessed family fights that have occurred after a loved one has died. They want to avoid this when they die.

When I investigate what leads up to family fights when it comes to probate and estate planning I often find that most family fights arise because of either a poorly created estate plan, or the fact that none was done at all. This often leads to misunderstandings, and miscommunications between family members. It is far better to spend some money to get a good Pocatello estate plan in place than it is to spend a lot of money later fixing problems that could have been avoided by a good estate plan in the first place.

At the Racine law office, our team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys have worked for over 70 years in helping clients create a customized Pocatello estate plan that helps avoid family fights. We are confident that the members of our team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys, which includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley, each have the skill and experience that can help you keep the peace in your family after you have passed away.

We have learned from experience that most people really don’t think about the bad things that can happen within their family relationships after they die. Most people want to believe that their family will stay strong and their relationships will be good forever. This does happen sometimes but not always. If you have any concerns about your family and whether they may fight after you have passed away here are three specific things that you can do to avoid this from happening.

1. An Estate Planning Attorney can Help You

The best advice that we can give to any of our clients to help them avoid family fights is to use a knowledgeable and experienced Pocatello estate planning attorney to complete a thorough written estate plan. It is our experience that most family fights arise because there is no estate plan in the first place. When this occurs, individuals begin asserting claims over items of property within the probate estate which often leads to misunderstandings and fights between family members.

When you use a qualified and skilled Pocatello estate planning attorney you will have a written, and well thought out estate plan that helps avoid any misunderstandings and miscommunications between your family members. The basic estate planning documents that you will receive from an experience Pocatello estate planning attorney include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. Each of these documents is designed to perform a specific function for you both while you are alive and after you have passed away. The main focus of these documents is to give you the ability to provide information and instructions that are clear enough that your family does not fight over what it is they think you want or need.

2. Your Personal Representative Could Cause or Help Avoid Family Fighting

Additionally, the next most important advice that can be given is the importance of carefully choosing a personal representative. The job of the personal representative is to care for and protect all the property, money, and assets in your estate after you die. In addition to this, the personal representative is tasked with the responsibility of distributing these items to the individuals you choose through your estate planning documents.

You can choose anybody you like to be your personal representative. Most people seem to think that they are required to choose some family member to fulfill this responsibility. However, this is not true. You are free to choose any individual that you would like to serve in this capacity. The only limitation that exists is whether that person will be willing to serve in that role. For this reason, it would be a good idea for you to talk with this individual and see if they would be willing to be your personal representative. Once you know who you want to name, the attorney who is assisting you in completing your Pocatello estate plan can prepare the documents necessary to make sure that the individuals you have chosen will be named as your personal representative.

3. You Should Provide a Clear Plan

The third and final piece of advice that we can provide when it comes to avoiding family fights through your Pocatello estate plan is the importance of providing clear instructions in your estate planning documents. When families do fight over your estate, this is done through Court proceedings. In other words, if your family cannot resolve their own disputes, then the dispute will come before a court and a judge will decide in favor of one group or family member over others. The reason for this is that the goal of the court is to simply carry out your intentions when it comes to giving your property money and assets to other individuals after you die. For this reason, the clearer you can be in stating what your goals and desires are, the less room there is for your family to fight over what you have written.

It is our experience that most family fights arise when an individual creates their own estate planning documents such as their last will and testament, or when they use an attorney who doesn’t specialize in estate planning. The reason this occurs is because in these circumstances, the instructions left in your last will and testament are usually not clear.

When you use an experienced and qualified Pocatello estate planning attorney to assist you, the language that will be included in your last will and testament will be concise and clear, and will eliminate any confusion about what it is you really want. When your will is clear and concise there is no room for your family to fight in court about what you intended. As a result, most family fights can be avoided when you have left clear instructions in a well-written last will and testament.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Pocatello 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 Pocatello Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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