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Idaho Estate Planning for Newlyweds

As Idaho’s premier estate planning firm the Racine Law Office works with many clients including newlyweds to complete estate planning. Whether you are young and this is your first marriage or you are more mature and this is a second or a third marriage, every newlywed should consider estate planning as a basic and vital task to accomplish shortly after getting married. Estate planning is important for newlyweds because there are now two separate lives that have been put together. This brings together the property, the debts, any children that already existed, or who may come after the marriage, as well as extended families into the mix of this new couple’s lives. The result of all this is that without estate planning things can get messy pretty fast even while you are alive.

The good news is that the Idaho estate planning team at the Racine Law Office can help you. We have offered premier Idaho estate planning services for over 70 years to each of our individual clients. Many of these clients have included Newlyweds in their first or other marriages. We have the skills, the knowledge, and the ability to give you good coulsel and to help you complete your own personalized estate plan.

Our Idaho estate planning team consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of the attorneys on our team is experienced, has specialized knowledgeable of Idaho estate planning, and has received the highest review ratings possible from current clients, other attorneys, and the judges that we work with frequently. We know that we can help you too.

When it comes to Idaho estate planning for newlyweds there are three things that you should keep in mind. By understanding these three things you will know why estate planning is important for newlyweds and more importantly how completing your estate plan can specifically help you if you are a newlywed.

Idaho’s Community Property Presumption

The first thing to understand is that Idaho is a community property state. What this means is there are specific statutes and laws that control how property is owned by a married couple. If you are a newlywed, this means that you are now under the presumption that all the property you own during your marriage belongs to both the husband and the wife equally. For most people the Idaho community property presumption is not a problem. However, this is not true for everyone.

Consider for a moment that you are a newlywed who got married later in your life. During the early stages of your adulthood, while you were still single, you purchased your own home, had your own bank accounts, created your own retirement accounts, and may have also accumulated some debt. Each of these things belongs to you individually because you were single when you obtained them. If you now get married, the presumption of community property will apply to you and your new spouse. This may not be what you or they want. By completing your Idaho estate planning you have the ability to make some decisions about whether you want to keep property that you accumulated while you were single your sole and separate property or whether you would like to include your new spouse as a co-owner on the those properties.

There are some things that can be done to rebut the community property presumption that exists in Idaho. However, it does require some specific actions to be taken. By knowing what your options are you have the ability with your spouse to make some decisions about how you want your property to be classified, even after you get married.

Pre-Nuptial or Post-Nuptial Agreements

The next thing to understand about Idaho estate planning for a newlywed what you can do to separate property if you choose. This can be cone between a married couple through either a prenuptial agreement (signed before marriage) or postnuptial agreement (signed after marriage). In many instances when an individual is just starting their second or third marriage these types of agreements will also be very useful.

Most of these agreements work the same way. They specify the separate property that each spouse brings into the marriage. This is what is known as a full disclosure of property. The agreement then is very specific about which property will belong to which individual spouse as their sole and separate property and what property will be owned by both spouses. Each spouse is given an opportunity to review the agreement with a separate attorney of their choice, so they can receive individual legal advice and counsel about the effect of the agreement on the separation of the properties. Finally, each spouse is then given an opportunity to sign the agreement showing that they do in fact agree to a separation of property.

Not all spouses feel good about a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. No spouse can legally be forced to enter into one if they do not agree with it. Due to the specifics of Idaho law, each spouse is given an opportunity to individually review the agreement and make a decision about whether or not they want to sign it. If they do sign it, it becomes an agreement between the spouses that changes the community property presumption discussed above.

These types of agreements come into being often during the time a couple obtains their Idaho estate planning. The reason for this is because there is an obvious discussion about property, who it belongs to, and who it will go to in the event of your death. Additionally, Idaho law, because of the community property presumption, has a strong influence over how your property is divided upon your death.

Basic Estate Planning Documents

The final thing that you need to understand if you are a newlywed is that there are some basic estate planning documents that every adult should have in their life. This is true even if you have no concerns about community property or separating out property. The basic Idaho estate planning documents consist of a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a health care power of attorney.

Almost everyone is familiar with a last will and testament. Most people understand that this is the document giving you the ability to say who you want your assets, property, and money to go to when die. However, a last will and testament can accomplish much more than this. You have the ability in your last will and testament to nominate Guardians for any young children you have. You also have the ability to use your last will and testament as a way of setting up a testamentary trust for your young children if you were to pass away and you wanted to provide for them financially.

However, a last will and testament is really not the most important document in your estate planning. More important than it is the durable power of attorney. The reason this is more important is because it is a document that can protect you while you are alive. For example, if you were to have an injury or an illness that incapacitated you to where you could no longer take care of your daily life functions or make decisions about your money, property, or assets, a durable power of attorney will protect you. In it you have the ability to name the individual you want to take care of you and your property and finances if you cannot do it yourself. Without a durable power of attorney your family will be required to do a guardianship proceeding where another person (who you did not choose) will legally have the ability to make these decisions for you. By creating your own durable power of attorney you get to nominate the people you choose.

The health care power-of-attorney is similar except that it is focused only on medical care. By having a health care power of attorney you get to choose the individual who will make decisions about what doctors you see, which medicines you take, what medical procedures you might receive, and if necessary, what assisted living services you obtain. Even though it is more narrow, this is still a vital document to have as a part of your basic estate plan.

Finally, a living will, is the document you use to make end-of-life decisions. If you have a terminal condition and you are only being kept alive through life support you get to tell the doctors whether you want to continue to be kept alive or whether you would rather be allowed to pass away normally and naturally. The main component to a living will is that you are unable to communicate with your doctors. So long as you can communicate you get to make healthcare decisions for yourself about your end-of-life medical care.

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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