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Idaho Estate Planning Checklist

As with most important tasks in life having a checklist for your Idaho estate planning is a helpful way to know whether your plan is complete and whether it is in need of any changes or updates. Our Idaho estate planning attorneys have assisted our clients for over 70 years in creating and updating customized Idaho estate plans. We always try to help our clients understand that estate planning is not static. Because life is always changing around us it is necessary to update and change our plans so that they accomplish what we want.

Our law firm is uniquely situated because we have an Idaho estate planning team of attorneys that work together to meet all of our clients needs. The expertise and experience of each of the attorneys owner estate planning team are utilized to benefit each of our clients. 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 several legal ranking services including AVVO, Justia, and Martindale & Hubbell.

To customize your Idaho estate plan and to make sure that it is always current and meets your needs and intentions, you should periodically review the 3 Ps checklist. The 3 Ps checklist includes people, papers, and planning.

1. People

The first item on the estate planning checklist is the people in your life. While Each of us have many types and kinds of people in our lives there really are specifically two categories of people that you should consider. The first category of people that you need to think about are the beneficiaries that are listed in your estate plan. These are the individuals who you have named specifically to receive a portion of your estate, which includes your money, property, and or assets.

Because circumstances in life change due to life events such as death, divorce, marriage, the birth of children, and so forth, the people in your life may also change. This means the beneficiaries that you listed in your estate planning 15 to 20 years ago may no longer be the people that you want to give your estate to now. A simple review of your Last Will and Testament will let you know whether it is current, and names the people that you want to be your beneficiaries.

The second category of people that you should consider are the appointments that you have made in your estate planning. These would include individuals you have named as your personal representative, the individuals who hold your powers of attorney, the guardians for your minor children, and/or the trustees of any trust that either are created or would be created through your last will and testament.

It really doesn’t do you any good if the appointments you have made name people who have either died or moved away or who are no longer capable or willing to do the specific things you have asked for them to do. Consider for a moment the reason for having a power of attorney. The purpose is to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of going through a Court required guardianship proceeding for yourself. If the individuals you’ve named to hold your powers of attorney refuse to do so or are no longer capable of doing so, then a guardianship may still be necessary for you.

Likewise, if you have named an individual to be your personal representative and they are no longer alive Then the court will have to appoint a different person to be your personal representative. This eliminates your ability to control who will oversee and care for your estate and make sure that your assets and property are distributed to the individuals you choose.

2. Papers

The next item on your Idaho estate planning check list is to make sure that the papers you have are all in order. Papers would include items such as identifying your property, providing information concerning your life insurance and retirement accounts, and having a complete copy of any prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements that exist. These types of documents have a direct impact on your estate planning and on the distributions that are made to your loved ones.

There are other kind of documents that are also important. These would include title documents to homes, land, or cars. These could also include information about bank accounts, Investments that you have made, or any kind or type of business ownership that you have. Additionally leaving Specific Instructions to your loved ones about what you would like to have happen with your remains, any memorial service that you may desire, or other specific items can also be extremely helpful for your loved ones.

By being organized and having all your papers prepared, you will save the time, and possible confusion of your loved ones trying to pull these together after your passing. It really does not take much effort to get your papers in order. A simple binder, or filing cabinet, or lockbox is sufficient for you to organize and keep your important documents and papers together.

3. Planning

The last P on the Idaho estate planning checklist is planning. It goes without saying that unless you have an effective Idaho estate plan you really are not prepared to protect yourself later in your life or to provide for your loved ones when you pass away. A basic estate plan consists of a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney for finances, a living will, and a power of attorney for Health Care. Estate planning could also include various kinds and types of trusts and a guardianship for your minor children.

Consider for a moment your power of attorney. If you suddenly become incapacitated because of an injury or illness, and you do not have a power of attorney in place, the courts in Idaho will require a guardianship proceeding in the court in order to determine who will be appointed to care for you and your property while you remain alive. Under these circumstances any family member can suggest to the court that they be the person appointed as your guardian. However, you may not want that person to be your guardian. Additionally, your family may not all agree on who should be appointed which could lead to an expensive legal battle involving numerous attorneys, and other individuals including family members who may be required to testify in court. All of this can be avoided through proper planning by having a valid and well-thought-out power of attorney.

Really the most important part of estate planning is for you to be able to identify and describe what your wishes and intentions are. This includes not only the appointments that you make but it also includes the individuals that you want to give your property, assets, and money to after you pass away. If you do not have a thorough estate plan or any estate plan at all the courts will determine who your estate will be distributed to regardless of what you may have wanted. It is only by specifically stating your intentions, that the court will strive to make sure that what you intend is actually carried out.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team Idaho Estate Planning lawyers can help you. Whether you are seeking to create or review your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member, 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 We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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