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Your Boise Estate Planning When You Have no Heirs

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

The motto of our firm is "Problem Solved!" and that really is our goal when it comes to helping our clients with their estate planning and probate needs and problems. We recognize that you don't have experience in dealing with estate planning or probate and as a result you will likely have many questions that you will need help with. We take pride in the fact that for over 70 years, our team of Boise estate planning lawyers at the Racine Law Office have helped clients resolve all their Boise estate planning and probate problems.

In helping our clients, our team of estate planning attorneys, which includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley, work to understand the dynamics of your family relationships and of the property that you have. We then work to help you come up with a plan of distributing your money, property, and assets in the specific way that you want. Some questions that come up occasionally are (1) what does our client do with their money, property, and assets if they have no heirs; and (2) if they have no heirs is it really necessary for them to even get their estate planning done in the first place.

There are good answers to these questions. Our goal again is to help you solve these problems in a way that leaves you comfortable and confident that you have made the right decisions concerning how to distribute your money, property, and assets, after you pass away. Below are three things that may be helpful to you, if you believe you have no heirs, and you are wondering about getting your own Boise estate planning done.

Is it True That You Have no Heirs

The first thing to determine is whether in fact you truly have no heirs. We have found that it is a rare occasion when a person truly has no heirs at all. Keep in mind that the word heirs means not only spouse, children, grandchildren, and parents but a whole lot of other relatives that you may have. Under existing Idaho law heirs are determined to be any particular ancestor and any particular descendant as well as their offspring. Some examples may help.

Let's say that you are single, you've never been married, you have no children, and your parents have passed away. In this instance, it's still possible for you to have heirs. If your parents had any additional children other than you, your heirs would be your siblings. If you have no siblings, then your heirs could include uncles and aunts, or they could be cousins. If your parents had no siblings, then we go up to your grandparents and out again to another generation to where you may have great uncles or great aunts or cousins that might be more distantly related.

The point is, that no matter how distantly related they may be, everyone has heirs that are still living. Sometimes it takes a little work to find them, but they do exist. It's a good thing too, because if it weren't for these distant heirs, the Hallmark Movie Channel would have a difficult time coming up with movie plots where a person is about to have their home foreclosed but they are suddenly determined to be the long-lost heir of a rich great-great-aunt who lived in England.

What Happens When There Really are no Heirs and You Have no Estate Planning

Even though it is very unlikely, I suppose there is a chance that no heirs of a person could be located. The laws in Idaho actually do cover this situation. Under specific Idaho statutes, which include Idaho Code § 14-502 et seq., when there are no heirs that can be found who can claim your money, property, or other assets after you pass away, then all of your possessions are determined to be abandoned and they go to the State of Idaho. In other words, if there really are no heirs, then the government gets your estate. Keep in mind, that this is really only true if you have no written last will and testament. This leads us to the next section which is what do you do when you have no heirs.

What to Do When You Really Have no Heirs

As we set forth above, the state of Idaho, or the government, will get all your assets, money, and property after you die, when you have no heirs, if you have no written last will and testament. Through a written last will and testament you have the ability to give all of your estate property, money and assets to whoever you want to, even if they aren't related to you. You do this by naming an individual or an entity as the beneficiary of your estate in your last will and testament. You can be very specific about what types and kinds of money, property, and assets that are in your estate go to these beneficiaries.

Because it is your last will and testament, you are free to distribute your estate to whoever or whatever you would like. In other words, you can name real people individually, or groups of people, or you can choose charities, or other entities that you would like all or a portion of your estate to be distributed to upon your death.

When a person comes to us to get their estate planning done and it appears from our investigation that they truly have no closely living heirs, we then encourage our clients to consider all the different charitable options that exist that they support. We then encourage our clients to name these charities as the beneficiaries in their estate planning documents.

If you have questions about whether you have any heirs and if not what you can do with your estate when you pass away, we can help.

Enlist a Boise Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Boise 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 Boise Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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