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Using a Specific Gift List in Pocatello Estate Planning

Many estate planning tools can be used by an individual when they are working to complete their Pocatello estate plan. Both state and federal law often change which may eliminate or even create the tools that are available. We work hard to assure that our team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys keep updated on, understand and use all of the tools that are available in helping clients create an estate plan that will work best for them and their individual circumstances. We have assisted each of our numerous clients over a 70 year period of time create customized estate plans. One of the most basic and yet most significant estate planning tools available for our clients is using a specific gift list.

Our Pocatello estate planning team of attorneys includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley, all of whom have received the highest ratings possible from several legal ranking services including Justia, Martindale & Hubbell, and AVVO. We take pride in the fact that these ratings are determined and based on feedback and reviews from current clients, sitting judges, and other attorneys.

Understanding and using a specific gift list as part of your Pocatello estate plan is a great idea. To help you decide if a specific gift list can be utilized by you, here are three specific things you should know:

1. What is a Specific Gift List?

The starting place and most important thing to understand about using a specific gift list is knowing what it is and how it is used. There’s nothing really complicated about creating a written specific gift list. A specific gift list is simply a written document that you use to list specific tangible personal property that you own and who you would like that property to go to. Tangible means things that you can touch, hold and carry. However, there are some limitations to what can be listed and given through a written specific gift list. Because of specific statutes in Idaho, you cannot use a written specific gift list to give gifts that include cash, bank accounts, houses or other land or real property or other intangible property that you may own.

As an example, items that you can touch hold and carry are usually considered tangible personal property. Examples of gifts that we often see that are made through a written specific gift list often include items such as: jewelry, guns, collectible items such as coins or stamps. Other items sometimes include tools or equipment, keepsakes such as china or other valuable knick knacks, and other items of sentimental value.

2. How to Make a Valid Specific Gift List?

An additional important thing to understand about using a written specific gift list is how to make it valid. Most people who use a written specific gift list already have a written Last Will and Testament. A written will often makes specific reference to the ability of the individual to make a specific gift list that will be incorporated into the will. This is made possible by Idaho Code § 15-2-5 13, which states:

a will may refer to a written statement or list to dispose of items of tangible personal property not otherwise specifically disposed of by the will, other than money . . .. To be admissible under this section as evidence of the intended disposition, the writing must either be in the handwriting of the testator or be signed by him and must describe the items and the devisees with reasonable certainty.

Further, this statute specifically states that the written specific gift list can be in existence either at any time the last will and testament is created or afterwards. Most importantly, the written specific gift list can be changed at any time by the individual prior to their death.

Our team of Pocatello estate planning attorneys helps our clients by providing to them a written form when we help them complete their last will and testament. We then provide specific instructions about how to use the form. Additionally, we help our clients understand the information that must be written on the form. By completing the written specific gift list it will become a valid and enforceable part of their last will and testament.

3. What Happens if You no Longer own the Item When You die?

Many of our clients ask us what happens if the fill out the written specific gift list form but then they no longer own the item listed when they die. We help our clients understand that a specific gift list is not set in stone. We guide our clients in understanding that their specific gift list can be changed or eliminated at any time they choose. If our clients change their mind and either sell or give away the item listed while they are still alive that is no problem.

It is always important to keep in mind that a written specific gift list is simply a part of your last will and testament. Each person with a last will and testament can change it any time they want, so long as they understand and know what they are doing. As a result, changes can also be made at any time on the written specific gift list. Further, a last will and testament is only effective, or legally binding after the person who signed it dies. So long as the person is alive they individually own any of the items listed on the written specific gift list and they are free to do with them whatever they like.

Even if a person has a last will and testament that specifically gives items of property or money away to other people, the owner of those items can sell them, use them, give them away to someone else or destroy them. If an item of personal property is given in a specific gift list but it no longer exists when you die, it simply means that gift is not given. It will be treated as if the gift had never been made.

Enlist a Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team Pocatello Estate Planning lawyers can help you with any or your 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 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 Pocatello Estate Planning problems.

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