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Keeping Your Idaho Estate Plan Simple

The goal of every individual should be to complete their estate plan in the simplest and most efficient way possible. We feel strongly that a person only needs what they need without any embellishments or add-ons. Perhaps I am more sensitive to this issue at this moment because in recent months I have had several clients meet with me to review their estate plan who have delivered to me large binders full of documents they received when they worked with other attorneys or financial providers to create their original estate plan. As I have reviewed these huge binders, I find that 85 to 90% of the documents contained in them are unnecessary and were only added so that the client could be charged more money.

The reality is that an estate plan should be simple, should provide exactly what the client wants and nothing more. At the Racine law office, we have provided premier Idaho estate planning services to our clients for more than 70 years. Our goal is to understand and meet the specific and individual needs each client has. We do not use a cookie cutter approach. Also, we do not provide our clients with large binders full of unnecessary documents.

Our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our attorneys have specialized knowledge and a great deal of experience in helping each client create their own customized estate plan. We know our clients appreciate our services because of the high reviews and ratings we receive from them as well as from other attorneys and judges that we work with regularly. We are confident that we can help you.

When it comes to Idaho estate planning here are three things you should understand about why you should keep your estate plan simple.

What a Simple Estate Plan is

A simple estate plan for each individual really consist of four specific documents. These include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a health care power of attorney. For most individuals these specific documents are all that is needed. The reason for this is because these specific documents cover just about every need a person could have while they are alive as well as provide specific instructions to be carried out after they die.

The last will and testament, which is the document most people are familiar with, gives you the ability to provide Specific Instructions about who your property, assets, and money are to be given to after you die. Additionally, if you have small children your last will and testament is a perfect opportunity for you to nominate a guardian or Guardians who will take care of your children until they become adults. Furthermore, your last will and testament gives you the ability to create a financial plan for how you could care for your small children or other loved ones that may be left behind after you die. You also have an opportunity to name a personal representative who is the individual who will carry out and make sure that the instructions in your will are accomplished. This leaves you in complete control of your plan for your loved ones in the event you die.

Of all the documents in your estate plan the durable power of attorney is the most important document of all. The reason for this is because it could have an impact on your life for many years if you become incapacitated. Your durable power of attorney gives you the ability to nominate an individual who will do all the things for you that you are now able to do for yourself. This includes handling all of your finances, dealing with your property and debts, and taking care of all other daily functions you normally do for yourself. If you become incapacitated and you do not have a power of attorney the courts in Idaho will decide who your legal guardian will be. This could lead to a expensive fight between well-meaning family members who may not agree on who should be appointed. This could also lead to destroyed Relationships. By using a durable power of attorney you avoid these conflicts because you get to make these decisions for yourself.

The health care power of attorney document is very similar. However, this document is focused only on the narrow area of providing healthcare for you. If you become incapacitated, you get to name an individual who will hold this power of attorney. Through this power of attorney that individual can make decisions for you about your medical care. This would include the doctors that you visit. It will also include what kind of medicine you take. Additionally this person can make decisions about what medical procedures you might receive. Finally, this person can make decisions about whether you need any assisted living services and if so, which types of services you receive.

The final document that is part of a simple estate plan is a living will. This document is designed to allow you to make binding instructions to your doctors and healthcare providers about the end of your life. Specifically, If you have a terminal condition and you are not able to communicate with your doctors you can tell them whether you do or do not want to be put on life support and kept alive artificially. So long as you are able to communicate with your doctor's your living will has no effect. It is only designed to provide protection for you and to make sure your instructions are followed, in the event you cannot communicate with your doctors.

Current Laws Allow for Simpler Estate Planning

The main reason that a simple estate plan that is described above is adequate for almost every person is because of the recent tax changes. In previous years it was wise to include a trust as part of your estate plan to help you avoid potential estate taxes. However, with the recent tax changes this is no longer a concern for most individuals.

The main reasons now for including a trust as part of your estate plan would be to avoid probate, to care for an individual who has special needs or who is a minor, or to help you qualify for Medicaid later in your life. Each of these specific goals may require the inclusion of a trust as part of your estate plan. However, we find that most individuals are not concerned about these issues and as a result have no need for a complicated or expensive trust as part of their estate plan.

A Simple Estate Plan is Easier to Keep Updated

Perhaps the biggest reason to keep your estate plan simple is because that makes it much easier to update it later in your life. Life is always changing. As a result of this, a person's estate plan should be kept updated so that it will meet that person's current needs. In fact, we recommend that a person update their estate planning any time they go through a major life change.

A major life change would include the birth of a family member, the death of a family member, a marriage, a divorce, a person moving away, and just the passage of a long period of time. When any of these events occurred, we recommend to our clients that they read through their estate plan and make sure that it still accomplishes what they want. This is much easier to do obviously if the estate plan is simple.

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 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 Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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