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Pocatello Checklist for Estate Planning

A checklist for your Pocatello estate planning, as with most important life tasks is always a helpful method to use to make sure that your estate plan is complete. It is also helpful in checking to see whether any changes or updates are needed. Our team of Pocatello estate planning lawyers has helped numerous clients for more than 70 years. We have created and updated specific and customized Pocatello estate plans for each of our clients. Our goal is to help each client keep their plan current because estate planning is not static. Changes in life are constant and as a result it is necessary to regularly check and for needed changes and to update plans so that they accomplish what you specifically want.

The Racine Olson law firm is unique because we use an experienced team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys that work together to meet each of our client’s specific needs. The expertise and knowledge of the attorneys on our team are used to benefit each client. Our Pocatello estate planning team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each attorney on our Pocatello estate planning team has earned the highest rankings and reviews possible from past clients and from several legal rating services including Justia, Martindale & Hubbell, and AVVO.

To help you create a customized Pocatello estate plan and to assure that your plan is current and meets your specific needs, we advise you to regularly review the 3 Ps checklist. The checklist for the 3 Ps includes papers, planning, and people.

1. Papers

The first thing that needs to be reviewed in your Pocatello estate planning check list is to make sure that all of your papers are all in order. What do we mean by “papers”? This would include all your important papers that identify your property; papers that provide information concerning contracts and accounts for your retirement accounts and life insurance; and papers such as copies of any post-nuptial or prenuptial agreements that you signed during your life. Each of these documents will likely have a specific and direct impact on your life. Because of this they will also affect your estate planning because they may impact or control the distributions that you make to your loved ones.

When it comes to important papers, this is not all. There are other papers that are also important, such as deeds to homes or land or other certificates of title for cars or securities. Important papers could also involve bank accounts, or other investments you made during your life. Important papers could also include documents related to businesses you own or have an interest in.

All of the documents mentioned so far deal with property that you own. Other important documents could include your leaving Specific Instructions in writing to your family and loved ones. These documents allow you to give instructions about what you want done with your remains, as well as providing details for any memorial service that you want. Additionally, you can leave other instructions about pets, or so forth that would be extremely helpful for your family and loved ones.

When you are organized and have all your important documents ready, you will save time for your loved ones. More importantly you could avoid possible confusion about your wishes. The reality is it isn’t difficult to make sure your important documents are organized. It doesn’t really matter whether you use a filing cabinet, a binder, a safe or a lockbox. What is important is that you make sure your important documents can be easily found and are up to date.

2. Planning

The second P on the checklist for Pocatello estate planning is your actual planning. It may not really matter if your other documents are in order, if you don’t have a completed and updated Pocatello estate plan. Not having one simply means you are allowing the government to determine who will not only receive your assets, but also who will be in charge of your assets until they are distributed. To protect both yourself later in your life and to make sure you have provided for your loved ones when you pass away, you will need at least a basic estate plan. Such a plan includes a written last will and testament, a living will, a durable power of attorney for finances, and a power of attorney for Health Care. Further, if need be, your Pocatello estate planning may also include a trust for yourself or others and a guardianship for your children who are minors.

How can these documents help you during you’re your own life? Take for example your durable power of attorney. This one documents allows you to name a person who will care for your property and assets if you can no longer do it for yourself. Consider for a moment that it is possible that you could suddenly become incapacitated through an illness or injury. If this happened, and you do not have a power of attorney in place, Idaho courts will be required to completed a guardianship proceeding to determine who will be appointed as your legal guardian to care for your property, and you personally, during the remainder of your life. If this were to happen, and you did not have a durable power of attorney document, any member of your family could apply to the court to be appointed as your legal guardian. They could do this even if you did not want that person to be named as your guardian. Furthermore, it’s possible that everyone in your family may agree about the person who should be named by the court. When this happens, and it does happen, it often results in a legal fight that is expensive and creates hard feelings between family members. You can avoid all of these terrible possibilities simply by creating and updating your own basic Pocatello estate plan.

The focus and goal of estate planning is to give you the ability to specifically name and identify your wishes and instructions. When done correctly, your instructions must be followed. Your basic Pocatello estate plan will control not only the people you appoint to do things for you but also who will receive your money, assets, and property, after you die. By having a complete Pocatello estate plan the courts are not left to determine who your estate will be given to. Rather, your written wishes and instructions will be carried out.

3. People

The final P on the Pocatello estate planning checklist includes the people that are in your life. We each have many groups of people in our lives. However, when it comes to your estate plan there are two specific categories of people that are involved. First are the people that you name to be your beneficiaries. These people are listed in your estate plan documents to receive your property, money and assets after you die.

Due to life always changing through events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, death, and so forth, it’s possible that the important people in your life could also change over time. If you listed beneficiaries in your estate planning 15 to 20 years ago, these people may no longer be around, or you may no longer want them to receive any part of your estate. By periodically reviewing your written Last Will and Testament you will be able to see whether it is still current, and names the people you want named.

The second group of people involved in your estate planning includes the appointments that you make. These people include individuals named as your personal representative; the people you listed who have been appointed as your powers of attorney, the guardians for your minor children, and/or the people named as your trustees of any trust already created or to be created after you die through your last will and testament.

It should be clear that it really won’t do you any good if the people you have appointed have died or moved away or simply aren’t willing or capable of doing the things you have asked for them to do. Remember, the reason for having a power of attorney are to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of going through a Court required guardianship proceeding. If the people you name to hold your powers of attorney refuse to do it or simply aren’t capable of doing it, then your document is no good and a guardianship proceeding may still be required.

Additionally, if you named an person as your personal representative and they can’t do it a court will be forced to name and appoint a different person. By updating your estate planning you stay in control of naming the people who will care for you and your estate and make sure that your assets and property are distributed to the individuals you choose.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team Pocatello Estate Planning lawyers can help you. Whether you are seeking to create or review your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member, 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 racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems.

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