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Why You Need a Pocatello Estate Plan Even if You Aren't Wealthy

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Although many people may not believe this, estate planning is not just for the wealthy. In fact, for our Pocatello estate planning clients, we make sure they understand that estate planning has more to do with them individually and their family and loved ones, than it does with their money, property, and assets. Additionally, we help our clients understand that estate planning is designed to provide protections for them while they are aligned in addition to allowing them to distribute their possessions after they are gone.

At the Racine Olson law office our team of Pocatello estate planning lawyers have assisted clients for over 70 years in creating customized estate plans. Our goal is to help protect our clients and their families while they are alive and to give them the ability to distribute their possessions in the way they want after they have died. Our team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. All of the attorneys on our premier Pocatello estate planning team have and continue to receive the highest ratings possible from current clients, the judges that we work with, and other attorneys in the area. We are known for our knowledge, skill, and ability.

Even if you are not wealthy, there are some things that you should consider when it comes to estate planning. Below are three of the most important things for you to think about.

Estate Planning is About More Than Money

The only real difference between wealthy people and those who are not is the amount of stuff that is owned. This stuff could be money, property, or other types of assets. Even people that aren't wealthy have some stuff. For instance, many people who would not consider themselves to be wealthy still own a home. Additionally, everyone will likely have bank accounts, vehicles, various items of personal property, and other similar things even if they would not consider themselves wealthy at all. While it's true that a wealthy person may have a larger volume of this stuff, we all still own stuff.

More importantly, a person does not need to be wealthy to be part of a family or to have loved ones. Most of us have, are, or will be parents, siblings, children, or a spouse regardless of whether we are wealthy or not. Further, almost everyone has loved ones and friends in their lives.

It is true that an important part of estate planning is deciding how and when and where to give all your stuff away to your family and loved ones. Through the use of a last will and testament, or through the use of trusts, an individual can include distributions as part of their Pocatello estate plan. However, we can tell you with some confidence that the most important part of your estate plan is not dealing with your stuff. It's protecting yourself and your loved ones.

Estate Planning can Protect Your Loved Ones

Your Pocatello estate plan can be used to protect your loved ones after you are gone. As was described above, we all have family or other relationships that are an important part of our lives. For example, whether you are married or not if you have children who are young, then a major part of your estate planning should be considering how you can provide for them and protect them if you were to die while they are young.

Until your children are 18 they are not considered adults in Idaho. If the parents of a young child have passed away, then a legal guardian has to be put in place for these children until they become adults. A person can use their last will and testament as a way of nominating who the guardian for their children should be. Additionally, when it comes to a small child, a last will and testament can be used to create a Minor's trust that will provide for your children financially until they become an adult and are old enough to care for their own finances.

Another example could be a parent of adult aged children who suffer from addictions to drugs or alcohol. In this instance, even though the children are adults, the parents may feel like it would be unwise to leave money or property or other assets directly to that child while the addictions exist. These parents could create a trust that would be funded upon their death that could assist their adult age children without giving money or property directly to them.

There are many different ways that estate-planning can be used to provide for and protect those that we leave behind whether they are family or other loved ones. Our goal is to discuss each potential need and find out whether our clients have these needs or not. In this way we can provide options and counsel to our clients about what can be done to help them based on their circumstances.

Estate Planning can Also Protect You While You are Alive

Perhaps the most important way estate planning can assist you, whether you are wealthy or not, is by protecting yourself while you are alive. Studies have shown that people are now living longer than they ever have before. Additionally, more and more people are suffering from dementia-oriented injuries or illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease. What this means is that these people will continue to live, but they will lose the ability or the legal capacity to care for themselves while they are alive. Estate planning can help.

One of the major functions of estate planning is to create documents that will protect you while you are alive. These documents include a durable power of attorney, a power of attorney for health care and a living will. These documents give you the specific ability to name individuals who will make decisions for you about your money, property, assets, and health care if you no longer have the ability to make these decisions for yourself.

It is possible, and in fact we have seen instances where individuals have needed this kind of help for many years during their life. The goal of estate planning is to simplify your life, and to lower the expenses that could occur should a problem arise. If you do not have your estate planning in place and you suddenly lose the ability to care for your own property, finances, and assets, the courts in Idaho will require a guardianship proceeding to occur. This is a costly and time-consuming process that could also lead to disagreements and arguments with family members. By completing your estate plan, you will avoid these expenses and potential family fights.

As you can see, it's not just the wealthy that need help with their estate planning. Just about everyone can benefit from having a complete estate plan in place. We offer a initial consultation to determine what estate planning needs you may have and how we can help you meet those needs. We are confident that we can help you.

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 need a Probate for a loved one who has passed, 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 with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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