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Pocatello Estate Planning by the Numbers

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

For over 70 years the Racine Law Office has provided premier legal services for individuals and families seeking help with their estate planning or with a probate in the Pocatello area. Based on our experience we have come to learn that estate planning has far more to do with protecting yourself while you are alive than it does with giving your property, money, and assets away after you die. Although distributing these things after you pass away is important, it is not the most important part of your estate planning. Rather, the most important part of estate planning for you is how your estate planning can protect and care for you while you are alive.

At the Racine law office, we use our entire team when it comes to estate planning. This allows us to utilize the skills and experience of all our attorneys to make sure we are meeting each client’s specific needs. Our team includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. All our attorneys have earned the highest ratings possible from current and past clients. The reality is the satisfaction of our clients is the best endorsement we can have to evidence our expertise, knowledge, and skill in estate planning.

If you are reading this article it’s because you are concerned about your own estate planning. If you are considering getting your estate planning done or if you need to make some changes to your estate planning, there are some basic numbers that you should be aware of that will help you. Here are five specific estate-planning numbers that you should be aware of.

78 - The Average Life Expectancy

As a society we are living longer now than we have ever lived before. In fact, based on recent surveys, the average life expectancy of an adult in Idaho is 78 years. If you are married, there is a one-in-four chance that one of the spouses in the marriage will live into their 90s. This is a huge increase in longevity over previous generations. While this is great news, it also brings additional things to mind that you should consider when it comes to estate planning. When a person is elderly, the most important documents that they should consider are their durable power of attorney, their health care power of attorney, and their living will. Of these we will discuss the living will here.

The purpose of a living will is to allow you to leave specific instructions to your doctors and other healthcare providers about whether you do or do not want to be kept alive artificially. Through a living will, you have the right to provide instructions about what you do or do not want in these circumstances. You have the choice of instructing your physicians to keep you alive as long as possible by keeping you on every machine available. Alternatively, you have a right to instruct your physicians to pull the plug and allow you to die normally and naturally. It is your living will that is the document that gives you the ability to leave instructions that will control what happens to you at the end of your life.

70% - Expected Number of Adults Who Will Need Assisted Living Care

With members of our society living longer now than ever before, there is an increase in the number of individuals who need assisted living care during the latter years of their life. This may be because of either physical or mental incapacity. This is where the power of attorney documents described above can provide help and protection to you personally.

The purpose of your power of attorney documents are to give you the ability to name another person who can act as your agent to take care of your money, property, and assets, including your bank accounts, if you are unable to do these things for yourself. Your agent may also have the ability to make healthcare decisions for you, so long as they are not end-of-life decisions which are covered by the living will document described above.

By having power of attorney documents as part of your basic Pocatello estate plan, you avoid a situation where your family may be required to do a guardianship proceeding for you. If you become incapacitated and you do not have your powers of attorney completed, your family would be required to go to court to have the court determine who your legal guardian will be. The problem with going to the court is that your family may not agree on who should be chosen, which could lead to an expensive fight between family members. By having a complete Pocatello estate plan, you can avoid this scenario.

55% - The Percentage of People Who do not Have an Estate Plan

The next most important number you should be aware of when it comes to your own estate planning is 55%. This number represents the percentage of adults who do not have any type of last will and testament document or any other type of estate planning document. The other estate planning documents are described more fully above. An additional estate planning document that you may need would include a last will and testament.

The last will and testament is the document that becomes a valid after you pass away. It gives you the ability to leave directions about who you want your money, property, and other assets to be distributed to after you die. Your last will and testament is also the document that allows you to name who your personal representative will be. If you have minor aged children you can also use your last will and testament as a way of nominating a guardian for your children, and to set up a testamentary trust that can provide Financial for them until they become able to take care of these things for themselves.

18 - The Age a Person Becomes an Adult in Idaho

Speaking of minor age children, the next number that you need to understand is 18. This number represents the age in Pocatello when a person becomes a legal adult. When a person becomes a legal adult they are legally able to receive inheritance is directly and make decisions for themselves about their own lives and property.

The problem with the age of 18 is that most people who are 18 haven’t had a lot of experience in life. As a result of this, most parents are wary about leaving an inheritance to an individual who is 18 years old. In order to avoid problems that could arise, a family could use a trust as a way of caring for property and money of a child until they reach a more mature age.

As an example, parents often use a trust as a way of motivating their children to move forward with their lives in accomplishing good things. I often have parents who will indicate that a trust will help a child complete their college education without giving money directly to the child. Additionally, some parents will use a college degree or attendance at College as a prerequisite or condition before any money will be distributed directly from the trust to the child. In this way, parents can incentivize their children to make decisions in their lives that will help them become self-reliant adults.

5 - The Most Years That Should Pass Without Reviewing Your Estate Plan

The final number that we will discuss is 5 years. This is the amount of time that as a maximum you should allow to go by before you review your estate planning documents to see if they need to be updated. The reason for this is that life does not stand still. Our lives and the people around us are constantly changing. We may have family members who get married, or who get divorced, or who are born, or who die, or who move away. Any of these major life events could be a triggering reason for updating your estate plan so that it still accomplishes what you need it to do.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Pocatello 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 Pocatello Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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