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You can do Your own Idaho Estate Plan, but Should You?

Our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys have been helping clients complete and finalize their estate plans for over 70 years. Because no two individuals or couples are the same, we have used our expertise and experience to assist our clients in customizing their estate plans to fit their particular needs. We also use our expertise to review the estate plans that have been created by our clients themselves to make sure that their plan is legally valid, and more importantly, that it accomplishes what our clients want to do.

Our Idaho estate planning team is made up of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our attorneys are experienced and have earned the highest rankings possible on Martindale-Hubbell, Justia, and AVVO, which are all legal reporting services that provide details on the skills and abilities of attorneys.

While there is no law that requires an attorney to help you create your Idaho estate plan, here are three reasons you should consider using an experienced attorney before you attempt to create your own estate plan.

1. Estate Planning Mistakes can be Expensive to fix - (That is, When They can be Fixed at All)

First of all it is important to understand that a legally valid Last Will and Testament can be created by an individual on their own. In Idaho, there are really two kinds of valid Wills. The first is a formal Will prepared by an attorney that is properly witnessed and notarized. The second kind is known as a holographic Will, which is a document that is completely in the handwriting of the individual along with their signature and a date.

However, just because an individual can do their own Will in Idaho does not necessarily mean that they should. Through our years of assisting our clients many of them bring their own Will in for us to review. Additionally, oftentimes when a family member passes away they will bring to us the Will that their loved one created for themselves. In both instances we have found often that the documents that were created are not actually valid in Idaho.

If the person is still alive this can actually be fixed. However, if they have already passed away then it is too late to change anything and there may be nothing that can be done to validate the documents. Probate will have to proceed without a valid Will. In either instance it does require an attorney to assist the family with the problems that have been created. We have found that it is in almost every circumstance far more expensive to try to fix problems that exist in an estate plan rather than customizing and eliminating those problems by using a qualified estate planning attorney to create the documents in the first place.

2. The Right Attorney Will Help You Customize Your Estate Plan

When you are hiring an attorney to help you create a customized estate plan, you are getting that attorney’s experience and expertise. When you work with an estate planning team, such as what we have in our firm, you get the collective experience and expertise of everyone on the team. This is important because no two individuals or couples or families are alike. Each requires their own personal customized plan to meet their specific needs and the needs of their loved ones.

Perhaps the single biggest mistake that we have seen with individuals estate plans is when either the individual themselves or the attorney they use to treat them the same as everyone else. Software packages, online resources, and inexperienced attorneys usually use a cookie cutter estate planning system that provides the exact same estate plan for every person regardless of their own particular or specialized needs or circumstances. Again, when this approach is used it can create problems for your family after you pass away, or can be expensive to fix before you pass away.

3. Using an Attorney Will Help You Avoid Leaving Your Family a Mess

When we meet with a client for the first time to discuss their estate planning, almost universally they express the same sentiment as our previous clients. The main concern our clients have is that they want to keep things simple and not create any kind of mess or problems for their family to deal with after they are gone. Often times when individuals create their own estate plan, either because it is invalid, or because it creates other problems, they usually have left their family with a mess.

The purpose of using an experienced estate planning attorney in Idaho is so that your specific intentions can be understood and mint. You have the opportunity to explain to the attorney what it is that you want to accomplish. That attorney then uses his experience and expertise to accomplish your intent in the simplest and most efficient way possible.

The worst thing that can happen when there is no valid Will , or a Will that is confusing or difficult to understand, is that it often leads to family misunderstandings and sometimes even to family fights through litigation. A qualified Idaho estate planning attorney can help you avoid all of these circumstances.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help You

Our team Idaho Estate Planning lawyers can help you. Whether you are seeking to created or review your own customized Estate Plan or would like to help a family member, 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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