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The 3 Most Important Things to Know About Your Idaho Will

Our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys focus on helping each individual client accomplish and complete their own personalized estate planning. With over 70 years of experience in helping clients our goal is to help each person we work with obtain peace of mind and a knowledge that they have a complete plan in place to protect them while they are alive and to provide for their family after they pass away. We have vast experience in creating customized Last Wills and Testaments for each of our clients.

We are confident that we can answer your questions and help you with your estate planning needs. Our Idaho estate planning team who have each earned the highest ratings possible from AVVO, Justia and Martindale and Hubbell, includes partners Randy Budge, and Lane Erickson, and attorneys Nathan Palmer and Dave Bagley. With our team’s help you can be assured that there will always be someone available to answer your questions and to assist you.

When it comes to creating a last will and testament, there really are three important things that you need to understand. These three things are:

1. Your Last Will and Testament Must Follow the Required Formalities

The first thing that you need to understand is that your last will and testament must follow the required formalities of Idaho law in order to be valid. There are really three valid types of Wills that exist in Idaho. The first kind is a valid out-of-state will.

A person can obtain a valid will in a state they live in other than Idaho and then bring that will into the state of Idaho. Idaho statutes specifically state that if a will was valid in the state in which it was created, and the person then moves to Idaho, this will, will also be recognized as a valid will in Idaho as well. This is a great mechanism to give peace of mind to individuals who have moved from out of state, but took the time before they lived in Idaho to create and complete their own estate planning.

A second type of valid will that is recognized in Idaho is a holographic will. This is a fancy legal term that lawyers used to mean that the will was written by the individual themselves without the help of a lawyer. In order to be valid in Idaho a holographic will must be written in the handwriting of the individual, must be dated, and also must be signed by the individual. The key here is to show that there is testamentary intent, and that there are no ambiguities about the gifts that are given.

The final kind of last will and testament that is recognized as valid in Idaho is a formal written will. This type of will is in almost all circumstances fully typed out, which is what you receive when you hire a lawyer or law firm to assist you. Again, in order to be valid, it must be signed by the individual, dated, witnessed by at least two individuals who are disinterested in the estate, and all of the signatures must be notarized. The will must also clearly show testamentary intent and not be ambiguous.

2. Your Last Will and Testament Takes Effect Only When You die

The next most important thing that you need to understand about your last will and testament is that it only becomes effective after you die. Regardless of which type of will you have, as described more fully above, none of these become effective until you pass away. This is important because until you die you personally own all the property that you list in your last will and testament. Because you own this property, you have complete control over it and have the ability to use it in any way you want.

Additionally if you choose, you can alter or change, or destroy or revoke your last will and testament at anytime you would like. This gives you complete control over your own Estate Planning and the gifts that you give to others of your money, property or other assets when you pass away.

3. Your Last Will and Testament only Affects Assets You own Personally

The final thing that you should understand about your last will and testament is that it only affects assets that you do own personally at your death. Take for example a 1985 Ford Mustang. If you own this vehicle and you create a last will and testament that distributes this vehicle to another person, this provision in your last will and testament will only be valid if you still own that vehicle when you die.

As is set forth in section 2 above , since the vehicle is yours you are free to do whatever you choose with it. You may decide during your lifetime that you want to sell this vehicle and take all the money that you get from that sale down to Las Vegas and pump it into the slot machines. You are free to do this if you would like. There is no law or individual for that matter who could stop you from making this decision. However, if you do this and your last will and testament still mentions this vehicle, your last will and testament will no longer have any effect concerning this gift because you no longer personally own this vehicle when you pass away.

Likewise, item such as life insurance, or retirement accounts including 401 Ks, IRAs, or pensions are not controlled by your last will and testament. These items are controlled by the contract you sign when you obtain them. In this contract you are free to list beneficiaries if you choose. If you list in your last will and testament that your 401k account should go to an individual, but the contract for the 401K lists a different beneficiary, the contract will control and your last will and testament will not be valid as to that gift.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

We are confident that our Idaho Estate Planning lawyers can help you. Whether you are seeking to create or review your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member do the same, 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 Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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