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Test Your Knowledge About Idaho Estate Planning

An alarming number of adults in Idaho have done nothing towards completing their own personal Idaho estate planning. In fact, Idaho follows the national trend. Recent studies show that only about one-fourth of all adults in Idaho have even thought about completing their own personal estate planning. Even worse, only about 1 in 8 adults in Idaho have actually completed any type of estate planning documents. After nearly 20 years as an Idaho estate planning attorney I’ve come to realize that the reason so few individuals complete their estate plan is because they really don’t understand how estate planning can help them and their family and loved ones. Our goal as a premier Idaho estate planning firm is to educate our clients on the many different ways that having an estate plan will help protect them and their family not only after they die but also during their own lifetime.

At the Racine law office we have created an Idaho estate planning team of attorneys who have assisted clients in the creation of their own customized estate plans for over 70 years. Our team of premier Idaho estate planning attorneys consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of the attorneys on our team is experienced in helping each client create a customized estate plan that will meet their needs during their life and will protect their family and loved ones after they pass away.

To see if you need some assistance in the creation of your own personal Idaho estate plan, here are four basic estate planning questions that will test your knowledge.

Question #1 - If you are not married and don’t have any children then you do not need to worry about estate planning. True or False.

The answer to this question is False. Remember, Idaho estate planning is about more than just giving your property away to someone else. More important than that, your estate planning has the ability to provide protection to you personally while you are alive. This is completed through your powers of attorney including your durable power of attorney and your health care power-of-attorney. Through these documents you get to name another individual who will care for you and for your property if you lose the ability to do so through an injury or illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Question #2 - If you die without a written last will and testament who decides what happens to your assets?

  1. Your Lawyer
  2. Your Spouse
  3. Your Children
  4. A Judge

The answer to this question is D, a Judge. When there is no written last will and testament Idaho’s intestate statutes determine who will receive your money, property and assets. In order for this to occur, a probate must be filed with a court. During the probate proceedings a judge will determine by order who is to receive the money, property, and assets you leave behind by determining who your heirs are and which of these heirs have the highest priority in receiving your items. As a result, if you do not have a written last will and testament, you lose the ability to control naming the specific individuals you want to receive your property after you pass away.

Question #3 - If you have a written last will and testament a probate will not be necessary. True or False.

The answer to this question is False. Regardless of whether you have a written last will and testament or not, a probate in Idaho is required if either of the following applies: (1) the person who died had an ownership interest in any land or real estate when they died;or (2) the value of the estate of the person who died is worth $100,000 or more even if it has no land in it. If either of these apply then a probate is necessary under Idaho law. For some reason, many of my clients believe that probate is a bad thing. The reality is that a probate is actually a good process that allows for the naming of a personal representative and the organized distribution of money and property from the estate to the individuals it should go to. It also allows for the family of the person who passed away to be protected from creditors and other individuals coming in at a later date making claims.

Question #4 - Once you get your estate planning done, you don’t need to think about it ever again.  True or False.

The answer to this question is False. We recommend that our clients review their estate planning documents often. Specifically, we recommend to our clients that they review their estate plan in documents anytime they or a loved one goes through a major life change. A major life change includes the following:  someone being born; someone dying; someone getting married; someone getting divorced; someone moving; or just a passage of a long period of time. If any of these things occur we recommend to our clients that they pull out their estate planning documents and ask one simple question which is this: Do my estate planning documents still do what I need them to do? By reading the documents you should be able to see whether any changes are necessary. If they are, that we recommend that your estate planning documents be updated so that they will still accomplish what it is you want them to do.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Idaho 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 free consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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