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Not Wealthy? You Still Need an Estate Plan

After having helped numerous individuals and families complete their estate planning, we have come to learn that there are several misconceptions about who should complete their estate planning and when estate planning should be done. The reality is that wealthy people are not the only ones who need to do their estate planning. The other reality is that Idaho estate planning is not only about money, property and assets. There are many other things that come into play when it comes to estate planning that could have an impact on you during your life and could also have an impact on your loved ones after you die.

For over 70 years our premier Idaho estate planning team at the Racine law office have worked to help each individual client with their unique and personal needs. By utilizing a highly knowledgeable, skilled, and educated team of Idaho estate planning attorneys, we make sure that each of our client's unique needs are met. Our team consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson as well as attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of the attorneys on our team have received the highest ratings possible from past and current clients.

Whether you are wealthy or not, when it comes to estate planning, there are really three things that you need to understand. These three things are listed below, and they are designed to help you think about the importance of completing your own estate planning while you still can regardless of whether you are wealthy or not.

The Only Difference Between Wealthy and not Wealthy People

The first thing to understand is that there really is only one difference between wealthy people and those who are not wealthy. This difference only has to do with the amount of money, assets, and property that are owned. Our experience is that everyone owns something during their lifetime. The only real difference is the amount of stuff that is owned.

While it is true that a wealthy person may have property in several states such as homes, vacation properties or investments, we have found that a majority of people at some point in their lifetime will likely have an ownership interest in a home regardless of how valuable it is. Even if a person doesn't own a home, they often have bank accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts, and other various items of personal property.

More importantly, regardless of whether you are wealthy or not, most people at some point will have or will belong to a family. Whether you have parents, siblings, a spouse, or children, estate planning will assist you when it comes to your family and loved ones.

You Still Need to Protect Your Loved Ones

The second most important thing for you to understand is that estate planning is not only designed to help you give away your money, property, and stuff after you die, but it is also designed to help you protect your loved ones while they are alive as well. Keep in mind that estate planning is not designed to help you with only those things that do happen but also to provide protection and peace of mind for you for any of the bad things that "could" happen.

Consider a married couple who doesn't own much property but who has young children. In this instance, estate planning is vitally important to give the parents an opportunity to name legal guardians in their last will and testament for their minor aged children if the parents were to suddenly die. Again, it's unlikely that this situation will happen, but it potentially could happen. We have seen this circumstance occur. When it does, if the young couple does not have an estate plan in place where they have nominated and named someone to be the legal guardian of their minor aged children, we have seen circumstances where the family fights over who should become the legal guardian. Think about well-meaning Grandparents, or siblings who feel that they are best suited to raise the young children. When a legal guardianship is not set up in a parent's estate planning, any relative can petition the court in Idaho to be named as the legal guardian of the children.

Additional examples of how your estate planning can help your loved ones include situations where you may have a child or other loved one who has a disability or a handicap. In this instance your estate planning can be used as a way of setting up a trust that can provide support and help to this individual throughout the remainder of their lives. This could be done in a way that will not jeopardize any governmental benefits that your family member is receiving. If money or property were given directly to this individual, they can lose all their benefits and at the same time they may not have the ability to take care of that money or property.

A further example would include parents who have a child who struggles with serious addictions. We have helped parents who have children with alcohol or drug addictions. We have crafted a plan for the parents of these children that helps the children, without directly giving to them large amounts of money or other assets that could cause more harm than good.

You Still Need to Protect Yourself

The third but certainly not the least important thing for you to understand is about how estate planning can provide protections for you while you are alive. As a society we are living longer now than we ever have before. As a result, there is a higher rate of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, strokes, and other injuries and illnesses that cause elderly people to lose the ability to care for themselves and their property and money. Even a basic estate plan will include documents such as a durable power of attorney and a power of attorney for health care that gives the individual the ability to provide protections for themselves in the event they lose the ability to take care of themselves later in their lives.

The example with minor aged children above is very similar. If you do not have a written estate plan in place that spells these things out, any of your family members can step up and claim that they are best suited to be your legal guardian. This means that not only could your family fight about who would be appointed as your guardian, the individual who ends up being appointed by the court may not be the person you would have chosen yourself. By completing your estate planning, you are in complete control of who is named and what they are able to do.

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 need 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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