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Knowing Your Idaho Estate Planning Numbers

Our goal when we help our Idaho estate planning clients is to keep things as simple as possible. To be clear, estate planning can be as complex as the individual the plan is created to protect. However, it's unnecessary for an estate plan to be overly complicated to provide the protections for our clients while they are alive and to allow them to distribute their property, money, and assets to their loved ones after they die.

For over 70 years our premier Idaho estate planning team has assisted each client in creating a customized estate plan that will meet their specific needs. Our team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our attorneys has years of experience assisting clients with their estate planning. The lawyers on our team have each received the highest reviews possible from clients, other attorneys, and judges for their knowledge, understanding and skill and estate planning.

Part of keeping estate planning simple is knowing the basic numbers associated with how an estate plan works. Below are the basic Idaho estate planning numbers that you should be aware of as you consider completing your own plan.

1 - The Number of Children You Have to Need a Guardianship in Your Will

That's right, you only need one child for you to make creating a guardianship in your last will and testament a high priority. A guardianship for a minor age child is not necessary anytime one of the natural parents of the child is still alive. So, for example, if you pass away but your spouse is still alive, and they are the natural parent of your child a guardianship will have no effect. However, if the other parent of your child has already passed away or is incapacitated in some way having a guardianship is vital!

Keep in mind that we are really only talking about minor aged children. In Idaho that means any child under the age of 18. Once a child reaches the age of 18 in Idaho they are considered by law to be an adult and a guardianship will have no effect on them. However, if your child is under the age of 18 you have an opportunity to declare in your last will and testament who you would like to have the name as the guardian of your minor age children. This gives you full control in making decisions about who you would like to have raised your children in the event that you are unable to do so because of your own death.

2 - The Number of Marriages You've Had for You to Consider a Property Settlement Agreement

The next important number is associated with marriages. If you have had 2 or more marriages during your lifetime then you should consider some sort of Property Settlement Agreement as part of your estate planning. In Idaho this type of agreement can be done before a marriage and it is called a Prenuptial Agreement. After an individual is married this type of agreement can still be entered into and it is then known basically as a Property Settlement Agreement.

Current Idaho law allows a married couple to enter into one of these types of agreements. The basic idea of the agreement is that it spells out specifically which property will be separately owned by one of the spouses during the marriage, so it can legally be passed to their own children. This type of agreement also usually specifies what type of property is considered community property that is owned by both spouses during the marriage. This is important Idaho is a community property state with laws that presume that all property owned during a marriage is community property. So long as the statutory formalities are satisfied this type of agreement is valid in Idaho and it does away with the community property presumption.

The basic statutory requirements are that there needs to be a full and complete disclosure of all the property that is owned by each spouse before the marriage. Then there must be a statement that shows which property will specifically be owned by one individual and not by both spouses during the marriage. This is the basic property separation. The next basic requirement is that each individual should have an ample opportunity to have their own attorney review the agreement and make any changes that need to be made. Finally, this type of agreement is usually signed, notarized, and then recorded in the county where the individual resides or where they own real estate that is affected by the Agreement.

3 - The Number of People You Should Appoint in Your Documents to do Things For You

The next number that you should be aware of for your own Idaho estate planning is the number 3 which is the basic number of people you should appoint in your estate planning documents to do things for you. For example, in your last will and testament you will name the individual that you want to serve as your personal representative or executor. We usually recommend that you specifically name the person you want to have serve as your personal representative. We then recommend that you name a first successor and then a second successor who can take this appointment if the person you have chosen cannot or will not do it. To be clear there is no Idaho law that requires an individual to accept an appointment as a personal representative. It's possible that the first person you have chosen either cannot do it or will not do it. When that happens if you have not named a second choice than the courts will choose an individual for you. Rather than allow this we encourage you to name successor so that you are in complete control of the individuals who will be handling your estate for you after you pass away.

A personal representative is only one of the appointments that you need to consider. As was set forth above you may need to name Guardians for your minor aged children. You will also need to name the individuals you are granting your power of attorney to for your finances and property. Additionally, you will need to name individuals who will have your medical or health care power of attorney. It's also possible that you could have a trust set up and you will need to name individuals who will serve as the trustees of your trust.

The basic number for making appointment is 3. By having three individuals name for each appointment that you have in your Idaho estate planning documents, you have some assurance that the individuals you have chosen will be taking care of those things for you. This avoids the need for the courts to get involved to make these appointments for you.

4 - The Number of Basic Estate Planning Documents You Need

The number 4 is the next number that you should be aware of for your estate planning. This number refers to the number of basic documents that you should have as a part of your Idaho estate plan. These basic documents include your last will and testament, your durable power of attorney which covers your property and finances, your power of attorney for health care, and your living will.

These four documents give you the ability to provide protection for yourself while you are alive, to make your final decisions about your health care towards the end of your life and whether you do or do not want to be kept on life support for any period of time, and finally how your property will be distributed and who it will be distributed to, after you pass away.

5 - The Maximum Number of Years You Should Go Without Checking Your Estate Planning Documents

The final basic number that you should be aware of for your estate planning is the number 5. This number relates to the maximum amount of time that you should let go by without ever checking your Idaho estate planning documents to make sure they are up to date. We have found that life is not static. As a result, the changes in life may make a change to your Idaho estate planning documents necessary.

We advise that our clients review their Idaho estate planning documents anytime there is a major life change that they have gone through. A major life change would involve either you or another person named in your estate planning documents who has: moved to a different state; or given birth; or has died, or who has gotten married; or who has been divorced; and finally, the passage of time, 5 years to be exact. If any of these specific things have happened to you or to a person in your family who may be affected by your estate planning documents then we suggest that you review your documents and make sure that they still accomplish what you want.

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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