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Pocatello Estate Planning After a Spouse Dies

The reason and purpose of completing Estate Planning in Pocatello is so each client can provide protection for themselves while they are alive and can also distribute their money and assets to the individuals they choose after they die. Our Pocatello estate planning team of attorneys has served and assisted clients complete their Pocatello estate planning for over 70 years. With our knowledge and experience our team has learned the importance of making sure our clients regularly review their estate planning documents. This is especially true if your spouse passed away before you. We have found it very common that with the passing of a spouse, a client’s ideas and plans will have changed dramatically. If your spouse has passed away it will likely be necessary to make changes to your estate planning documents so that they still protect you and accomplish what you want.

The Pocatello estate planning team of attorneys at the Racine office all work together to support and assist each client in completing their customized Pocatello Estate plans. Partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley are each a part of this experienced team. Through the legal rating services of Justia, Martindale & Hubbell, and AVVO, each of the estate planning lawyers on our team has obtained the highest rankings possible based on written reviews from current clients, other attorneys, and judges.

If your spouse passed away and you are wondering what you need to do about your estate planning documents, here are three things you should think about:

1. Start With Your Children

The first thing you should think about after the death of your spouse is your children. Each individual’s circumstances in life are different and unique. This is especially true when it comes to children. Some parents have young children who are under the age of 18 and are legally minors. Other parents may have young or older children with special needs children who have disabilities or other handicaps. In each of these circumstances a guardian should be named for these children.

In addition to this, some care and thought should be given about how assets, property, and money from your estate would go to your children when considering their individual ages, needs and circumstances. To meet each of these needs and circumstances, it may be wise to create a trust to protect money for your children so that it will then be used for their benefit while they are either young or under a disability. If your spouse passed away before you, you should review your estate planning documents and make sure that your plan provides for and takes care of your children regardless of their circumstances. If your spouse passed away and your plan fails to consider the circumstances of your children, it is important that you make changes while you can.

2. Make Changes to Your Power of Attorney

The second thing that you should think about is whether you need to make any changes to who you listed as your personal power of attorney. While it is true that the appointment of a personal representative in your last will and testament is important, it is not the most important thing for you. Your last will and testament only becomes valid after you die. As a result, it does not have an impact on you while you are alive. However, your power of attorney does.

If your spouse passed away it is vitally important that you review your power of attorney and make sure that you still have a valid plan in place. Specifically, you need to know whether the individuals you still have listed after your spouse are willing and able to serve as your power of attorney. If not, then a change should be made. Our suggestion is that you have a primary individual named and at least two successors as well. This provides the ultimate protection for you in making sure that at least one of the individuals you named will be able to serve as your power of attorney if needed.

Remember that the purpose of a power of attorney is to help you avoid the time and expense and potential family feuds that can arise about who should be named as your guardian. If those individuals you have listed as your successor Powers of Attorney after your spouse are not willing or able to serve, your power of attorney document may have no legal effect or worse, may lead to an expensive family fight.

3. Make Changes to Your Last Will and Testament

The next thing you should do after your spouse passes away is review and determine whether your last will and testament still accomplishes what you want. More than likely, your last will and testament listed or named your spouse first in several different places and for different reasons.

It’s likely that the first place your spouse would have been named in your last will and testament was as the primary beneficiary of your estate. What this means is that you named your spouse to be the person to receive all the money, assets, and property in your estate. Because your spouse passed away first, you should now think about whether you have named other individuals after your spouse. If you have not you will now need to. If you did, you need to think about whether the people you listed are still the people you want. It is possible that your plan about who you want to receive your assets and money has changed. If it has, you will need to make these changes in your last will and testament.

In addition to naming beneficiaries you also need to think about who you named as your personal representative. Married persons usually name their spouse as the person who would be their personal representative. A well thought out last will and testament usually has successors named who can be the personal representative of your estate. Keep in mind that your ideas of what you would want, and who you named to do these things may have changed now that your spouse is gone. Based upon this, if your spouse has passed away, you need to review each appointment and decide if your plan still works. If not, changes should be made.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Pocatello lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning needs if your spouse has passed away. 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 consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems.

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