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Pocatello Estate Planning the 3 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

By Lane V. Erickson, Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney

Nobody wants to make mistakes. We are all critical of ourselves when we do. We spend a good deal of our time and energy avoiding making mistakes so that we don’t have to deal with any problems that arise because of those mistakes later. This is particularly true when it comes to completing your own Pocatello estate plan.

The purpose of estate planning is to provide protection for yourself while you are alive and to give you the ability to distribute your property, money, and other assets to the individuals you wanted them to go to after you have passed away. The basic estate planning documents that everyone should have, regardless of whether they are older or younger, or have family members or not, include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a healthcare power of attorney. At the Racine law office, we have been helping clients obtain these basic documents for more than 70 years. We have helped numerous clients complete their own personalized estate planning, and we are confident that we can help you too.

The purpose of this article is to talk about the three biggest mistakes to avoid when it comes to your own estate planning. We will talk first about the importance of getting your estate plan done. We will then talk about why it’s important that you get professional to make sure that your estate plan is done correctly. Finally, we’ll talk about the importance of keeping your estate plan current or updated.

1. Not Doing Your Estate Plan

The biggest mistake that most people make when it comes to estate planning is that they simply don’t get it done. Recent studies show that only 38% of adults in the United States actually have any type or kind of estate planning done. This is an abysmal number. Everyone could benefit from having at least a basic estate plan.

We find that many people don’t get their estate planning done because they don’t know where to start. We do our best to make this easy by providing an Estate Planning Questionnaire. This questionnaire is easy to understand, and it helps each person begin pulling together the information they need in order to complete their own estate plan. In addition to this, the questionnaire also provides explanations about why certain parts of your estate planning are important and how your estate plan can help you individually.

By using the Estate Planning Questionnaire, our clients are prepared when it comes to discussing estate planning options with them. Once a person has the estate planning questionnaire prepared, we then offer a free 30-minute consultation to discuss their information and to talk about the options that are available to them for their own estate planning.

Even if a person chooses not to hire us to do their estate planning, the Estate Planning Questionnaire is invaluable and giving them information and helping them get started and getting their own estate planning done. So, we highly recommend that you use our estate planning questionnaire to avoid the biggest mistake that most people make which is not getting their estate planning that in the first place.

2. Doing Your Estate Plan Yourself

The second biggest mistake that we see that occurs when it comes to estate planning is that people try to do it themselves. We recognize that estate planning is not free; it costs money to hire an attorney to help them get their estate planning completed. However, it is far better to spend a little bit of money at the beginning than a lot of money at the end trying to fix mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

During the free 30-minute consultation that we offer to our clients, we talk with them about the options they have for their own individual estate plan. We then talk with our clients about the flat fee prices we charge for the work that we do. By providing this information, our clients have everything they need when they leave our office, to think about and to decide whether they want to hire us to help them with their estate planning or not.

Most estate planning is not complex. However, each person, their family and loved ones, and their circumstances, are unique. Because of this, an individual who gets their estate planning done, should not just get a cookie cutter set of documents. Rather, the documents should reflect the individual, their needs, their family, their family’s needs, and what it is the person wants to accomplish. By using a qualified estate planning attorney, you will know that this is exactly what your documents do.

3. Failing to Keep Your Estate Plan Current

Likewise, simply having an estate plan alone is not enough. Like servicing your car, you need to keep your estate plan maintained and updated to make sure that it meets all of your current needs. Life is not static; it is always changing. Because of this, the circumstances that existed in our life when we got our estate planning done, may no longer exist. We may have gotten a divorce, or we may have married someone. We may now have more children than we did when we did our estate planning. Alternatively, some of the people we named in our estate plan to either help us do things or to receive items of property may have passed away.

The point is, estate planning needs to meet your current needs, not the needs you had 20 years ago. Because of this, it is important that each person review their estate plan regularly. By doing this, most needed changes will jump out and be obvious. Once we know what those changes are, it’s easy to correct them and to make sure that your plan and documents are current.

We have helped numerous clients avoid the three big mistakes listed above, we have helped create customized estate plans for many of our clients to make sure that they have what they currently need. We are confident that we can help you too.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Pocatello lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. 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 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 or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems.

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