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Idaho Estate Planning by the Numbers

As the premier Law Firm providing Idaho estate planning to clients and their families, we feel it is our responsibility to stay on top of the latest issues involving estate planning. After over 70 years of providing high quality estate planning services to our clients we have learned that each client and their family are unique. In completing estate plans for each of our clients we utilize our skill and expertise to meet each client’s individual needs.

At the Racine law office, we use a team approach when it comes to estate planning. By doing this we utilize the skills and experience of several attorneys to meet each client's needs. Our team consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of the attorneys on our team have received the highest ratings possible from past and current clients. When it comes down to it, the satisfaction of our clients is the greatest endorsement we can obtain that illustrates our knowledge, skill, and expertise in Idaho estate planning.

When considering whether you should get your estate planning done, or whether you should update your estate plan, it's important for you to understand the basic numbers associated with Idaho estate planning. These numbers illustrate the importance of having a thorough and complete plan. Below are five specific numbers that you should be aware of.

5 Years

Assuming you have completed your plan, congratulations. As you will read in more detail below, you have done more than most people ever do when it comes to thinking about their future and planning for themselves and for their family. However, completing your plan alone is not enough. The most important thing is to make sure that your plan is current and up-to-date so that it will accomplish what you want when you need it to.

To make sure that your estate plan will meet your current needs we recommend that our clients review their plan whenever they go through a major life change to make sure that it still meets their current needs. Major life changes include either you or a family member getting married or getting divorced. A major life change can also include the birth of a family member or the death of a family member. A major life change could also include moving especially if the move takes you to a different state. Finally, we always recommend that our clients review their estate plan at least every five years. The reason for doing this is because life doesn't just stand still. Every person's life is subject to changes. When changes occur, this may make an update to your plan necessary in order for it to really accomplish what you want.

So, the first number to be aware of is 5 years. This is the maximum amount of time that should go by before you review your plan. By reviewing your plan regularly, you can make sure that it will be up-to-date and will meet your specific needs.

18 Years Old

The next number that you should be aware of is when a person turns 18 years old. This is important for a couple of different reasons. First, if you have minor aged children who are under the age of 18 then your estate plan should at a minimum contain information about who you would appoint as guardians of your young children if you and your spouse were to pass away. By doing this, you will avoid potential disagreements and fights among your remaining family about who should care for your children if you are gone. This will save time, money and perhaps even the relationships of your family.

The second reason that this age is an important number is because in Idaho when a person turns 18 they are considered a legal adult. However, most parents recognize that a child who turns 18 is likely not mature enough to handle receiving a sizable portion of your estate if you were to pass away. For this reason, it may be wise to create a trust as part of your last will and testament to protect these monies and use them for the benefit of your child, without giving it directly to them.

Through a testamentary trust you can instruct the trustee to use the monies, assets and properties in the trust to take care of the education, health, support, and maintenance of your child without giving money directly to them. You can also specify an age where you feel your child would be mature enough to handle receiving the money directly. This way, your children will receive the maximum benefits from your estate without causing them additional problems.

55% of Adults Do Not Have a Will

Another important number is the percentage of individuals who have completed their estate planning. According to the most recent studies conducted by various groups and agencies, around 55% of adults in America do not have any form of last will and testament. I understand why this is because many of my clients have indicated that since they are not wealthy they didn't believe that they needed a last will and testament. The reality is that regardless of whether you are rich or poor, and regardless of whether you are young or old every adult should have a last will and testament as a part of their basic estate plan. But this is not all, a basic estate plan should also include a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care.

The reason these additional estate planning documents are needed is a great lead into discussing the next important number listed below.

70% - Average Amount of Senior Citizens Who Will Need Some Type of Assisted Living

Most of my clients are surprised to learn that estate planning has to do with far more than just having a last will and testament to give their property and money away when they die. The last will and testament is important; however, estate planning is also used to protect you while you are alive, which is the most important part of your estate planning for you.

Based on the most recent studies it is estimated that around 70% of senior citizens are going to need some sort of Assisted Living before they pass away. Assisted living is provided for elderly individuals who either physically, or mentally, are incapable of caring for themselves adequately. As a society we are living longer now than we ever have before. This means that we are having a higher number of elderly who develop some form of physical limitation or mental dementia through injuries or illnesses such as a stroke, or Alzheimer's disease.

A durable power of attorney, and the health care power of attorney, are documents that our clients use to name individuals who will make decisions for them about their property, finances, bank accounts, properties, as well as their own medical and healthcare. These documents give you the ability to choose who you want to do these things for you. Without these documents the state of Idaho would require a costly guardianship proceeding to be completed on your behalf to make sure that you are protected.

The problem with a guardianship proceeding is that it is the court who decides who will take care of you rather than you being able to make this decision for yourself. By completing your estate plan and having a durable power of attorney and a power of attorney for health care, you avoid the need for any type of guardianship proceedings. This saves you and your family money and it helps avoid disagreements among family members.

78.6 - Average Life Expectancy

The last important number that deals with Idaho estate planning is the average life expectancy of 78.6 years. As part of your complete Idaho state plan we help you develop a living will as well as a last will and testament. A living will is a document that you use to give instructions to your positions about what they can and what they cannot do as you near the end of your life. A living will is where you can leave Specific Instructions about whether or not you want to be kept alive artificially and if so what Medical Treatments you do want. Additionally, you have a right in your living will to give specific instructions to your positions about medical care you do not want to receive including not being kept alive artificially.

Finally, your last will and testament is the basic document in your Idaho state plan that gives you the ability to give your property away to those individuals you choose. This is the document that most people are familiar with.

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 are in need of a Probate for a loved one who has passed, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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