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Some Tips on Leaving an Inheritance

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having provided estate planning services to our clients for more than 70 years, the premier Boise estate planning attorneys on our team assist each client to help them create a customized estate plan that will protect them while they are alive and provide a well thought out plan of how their property, money, and assets will be distributed after they pass away. When it comes to leaving an inheritance to others, we know that there are many things that need to be considered, including what is actually being left as an inheritance, and who will be receiving that inheritance. In other words, there is no cookie cutter approach or one single right way that this can or should be done. This is because each person's estate is unique, and the loved ones that you are leaving your estate to are all unique and different as well.

Our Boise estate planning team is knowledgeable, experienced, and has the skill necessary to help each client make decisions about their estate and the inheritances that they leave t others. At the Racine Law Firm our estate planning team includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley, who have each received the highest reviews possible from clients they have assisted over the years.

We understand that most people don't know where to begin when it comes to estate planning. Our goal is to assist each person individually so that we can discuss and talk about their own unique needs. However, there are several things that are common to everyone. For this reason, below are three specific tips that we can provide to you about leaving an inheritance to others as part of your Boise estate plan.

First, Consider Giving Gifts to Your Loved Ones While You are Alive

The first tip that we can give you, which is advice we give to almost all of our clients, is that they should consider giving gifts to their loved ones while they are alive. We understand that you might need to keep the money that you have in your estate to sustain you while you are alive. That makes perfect sense. However, do you really need to keep that set of 30 guns that you have in your gun collection and wait until you die to give those away to your children. It doesn't necessarily even need to be guns, it could be any item in your estate that has any sentimental value for any of your children. This could include vehicles, jewelry, coin collections, tools, and any other item that may have some sentimental value or significant value that you have in your estate, but that you really don't use or utilize anymore yourself because of your age or circumstances.

Imagine in your mind for a moment that you have passed away. Your last will and testament is being read to your loved ones. In your will you leave specific gifts of these items to your loved ones. Of course, you can imagine that they will be grateful for the items that you left of them.

However, now let's change the scenario. Suppose for a minute that you take a moment to talk to a specific loved one and to give them a gift of one of these items while you are alive. Imagine having that conversation and the closeness that this could create between you and your loved one while you are still alive. Also, imagine how this may enhance your relationship with that individual for the rest of your life.

If it's really things that you need to sustain yourself during the rest of your life, then by all means keep a hold of it for yourself. However, if you find that you have any items that you are simply holding onto but have no real use for anymore, we strongly suggest that you consider making gifts of these things to your loved ones while you are alive.

Second, Don't Leave Money to Minor Aged Children

The second important tip that we can give you is that you should not leave money or property or other assets directly to minor age children in your last will and testament. In other words, if you have someone who is under the age of 18, there should be no gifts or provision in your will that leaves an item specifically to that person. This is not to say that you are not leaving them with anything at all. Rather, we are simply suggesting that you not leave these things directly to the minor age person.

Through your estate planning you have many options of how you distribute money and property and other assets. If you have someone who is minor aged, you have the ability to create a trust through your last will and testament for that person. Any money, property, or assets that would normally go to that person are rather placed into their trust to protect it and hold it for them. You have the ability to be specific about the age where the trust will come to an end and these items will then be given directly to this individual. Additionally, in the meantime, you can leave instructions in the trust that will allow a trustee to use those items for the benefit of that person without giving it directly to them.

For example, many parents of minor age children will create a testamentary trust for their children. They may state that their child will receive the items in the trust when they reach the age of 25. Before that occurs, the trustee could use the money and property in the trust to help that child go to college, buy a home, start a business, or do any other meaningful thing, without giving the money directly to that individual. And this way, you can assure that the person you are giving your money or other assets to is mature enough to handle them.

Third, Consider Making Specific Gifts as Part of Your Estate Plan

The final tip that we will give you is that you could and more than likely should leave specific gifts as part of your estate plan as well. Your written last will and testament will allow you to specifically provide gifts of described items to whoever you choose. Additionally, you will have a specific gift list that is attached to the back of your written last will and testament that you can write gifts onto at any time without needing the help of a lawyer. In this way, you can leave specific items to specific people without having to go back to the lawyer to rewrite your will every time you want to make a gift.

So there you have it, three specific tips that can help you with your Boise estate planning. If you have questions or concerns about your estate planning, we are confident that we can help you.

Enlist a Boise Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team of Boise 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 lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Boise Estate Planning problems.

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