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Idaho Estate Planning New Year's Resolutions

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Happy New Year to all of you! A New Year always brings such hope about new opportunities and the ability to accomplish new, different, and better things than we have ever done before. This is especially true when it comes to estate planning.

I’ve been an estate planning attorney now for more than 20 years. During this time, I found that most people don’t get their estate planning done because they don’t know how to even start. At the Racine Law Office, we try to make this as simple and easy as possible for each individual who is interested in estate planning. We do this by starting with our simple Estate Planning Questionnaire that you can download by clicking on this link here. We then follow up the information that’s provided on the Estate Planning Questionnaire by having a free 30-minute consultation with each of our clients. This gives our clients the opportunity to ask any question they have about estate planning, and to review the options they have available to them before they have any obligations to pay us.

Speaking of payment, it’s during the free 30-minute consultation that we describe the flat fees that we apply to most estate planning options. By providing this information to our clients up front, they have everything they need to know before they decide to do their estate plan, and before they decide whether they want to hire us to help them get it done.

We encourage everyone who is interested in estate planning to download and review our Estate Planning Questionnaire and schedule the free 30-minute consultation. We do this even if they choose not to go with our firm to help them complete their estate planning. The reason for this is that the Estate Planning Questionnaire provides a good deal of information to our clients about estate planning options available to them based on their family and life circumstances, and about what each of these options means.

The purpose of this article is to help you make some New Year’s resolutions that apply to estate planning. The first is that you do speak with a qualified estate planning attorney. The second suggestion that we make is that you talk with your family about your estate planning as well. Finally, we suggest that you make sure your estate plan is updated and current based on your needs and circumstances.

Talk with an Estate Planning Attorney

As mentioned above, the very first and without a doubt the most important thing that you can do in this new year is talk with a qualified Idaho estate planning attorney. Everyone should do this. This means that it should be done by those who don’t have a written estate plan yet. But it should also be done by those individuals who already have a written estate plan. Especially if their estate plan is more than 5 years old.

By talking with an attorney, you will be able to ask questions about your estate plan, and also answer questions that are asked of you by the attorney. The reason this is important is that the laws concerning your estate may have changed, or the circumstances of your family or your own individual life may have changed. Whatever the reason, a qualified Idaho estate planning attorney can help you determine whether there is a need to either update an existing plan, or more likely, help you get your own written plan done in the first place.

A good attorney will not charge you for a consultation to discuss your estate-planning. Rather, they will take the time to learn what your circumstances and needs are, and then provide you with a fee schedule to help you determine whether you want to hire that attorney in the first place.

As stated above, we start with our simple Estate Planning Questionnaire that you can download. We then follow up the information that’s provided on the Estate Planning Questionnaire by having a free 30-minute consultation with each of our clients. After these two things are accomplished, then our clients have a clear understanding of what they should get done, how it will affect them and their family while they are alive and after they have passed away, and what the cost will be in getting it done.

We encourage you to take this first step now as part of a New Year’s resolution. We are confident that you and your family will benefit from taking this step.

Talk with Your Family

The next thing that you should accomplish as part of a New Year’s resolution for your estate-planning is a talk with your family. In other words, if you already have a plan in place, you should be talking with your family about what it means. Alternatively, if you do not yet have an plan in place, talking with your family is a great step to accomplish to help you get your written plan done.

As an estate planning attorney, I’ve found that no communication or miscommunication about an estate plan is usually what leads to hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and sometimes family fights. In other words, a little communication goes a long way in helping your family understand your plan and in avoiding family conflicts down the road.

Make Sure Your Estate Plan is Updated

The final suggestion that I will make that should be part of your New Year’s resolution is that you make sure that your plan is updated. If you already have a written plan, you’ve done more than 63% of all adults in Idaho. However, you may not be finished. The reason for this is that your life doesn’t just stay the same as the years go by. Rather, many things can happen that can change your circumstances.

For instance, either you or a loved one may get married, or divorced, or have a child born, or have a family member pass away, or you may move away to a different location. Whenever any of these major life changes occur in your life, you should read through your estate documents and see if you need to make a change. Our experience is that if you go through a major life change, it is evident immediately when you begin reading your documents. In other words, you will know what changes you need to make simply by reading through your estate plan from time to time.

The New Year is a new opportunity for change, growth, and improvement. We suggest that you use your New Year opportunity to create or update your own estate plan. Doing this will bring you peace of mind and will protect you while you were alive and provide for your family after you pass away. We have helped numerous clients for more than 70 years in completing their estate plan, and we are confident that we can help you 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 free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free 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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