Death, while inevitable, is not something most people enjoy thinking about. That is why so many people avoid creating an estate plan. But ignoring the reality of life and death does not make either go away – it just complicates matters.
Regardless of one’s current age or health status, an estate plan is necessary for any person who has dependents, owns property, has savings or investments, or owns a business. A well-crafted estate plan protects your heirs and loved ones in the event of a crisis or death. It can also protect your legacy to ensure that your wishes are followed after you are gone.
Depending on the details of the estate plan, it can even protect you while you are still alive, for example, if you become incapacitated, suffer a medical emergency, or are otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself.
The benefits of an estate plan cannot be overstated, but you may be wondering what estate planning actually is, what the estate planning laws in Idaho actually are, and if you need an Idaho estate planning lawyer. Read on for answers.
What does “estate planning” mean?
Simply put, estate planning refers to the process of creating a plan in the event of death or incapacity. An estate plan includes legal documents such as a will, trusts, a living will, or a combination of these documents that details how your estate should be handled if you die, suffer a medical emergency, or are incapacitated. You may have dependents who are counting on you to provide for them, or perhaps you have a specific item or family heirloom that you wish to leave to a certain person. A detailed estate plan will ensure that your wishes are honored.
Your estate includes everything you own:
- Personal Property – This includes property such as your home, land, vehicles, jewelry, antiques, art collection, and any other personal possessions.
- Financial assets – Your financial assets include any liquid assets such as cash, bank accounts, retirement accounts, pension, 401(k) accounts, or IRA’s, stocks, and bonds, etc.
An effective estate plan clearly outlines what should happen to your estate. It ensures that your possessions pass to your loved ones as you intend them to. This transfer can be done in a way to avoid taxes.
In addition to managing the transfer of your possessions after you pass away, an estate plan often includes a living will and medical power of attorney, which indicates your preferences for your medical care in the event you are incapacitated.
While it may sound complicated, creating an estate plan can be a simple process with the right help. An experienced attorney who understands Idaho estate planning laws can guide you and craft an estate plan that ensures your wishes will be honored.
Idaho Estate planning laws – simplified
Depending on your needs, your estate plan may include more than one type of legal document, such as:
- Will – A will is a document that states who will obtain your possessions after your death. According to Idaho estate planning laws, the testator, or person whose possessions the will is in reference to, must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind and body. In Idaho, a will can be prepared by an attorney, or it can be handwritten. Idaho does not consider oral wills to be valid.
- Trust – There are a variety of trusts that are designed to protect your assets and/or avoid probate. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. There are many types, including marital trusts, family trusts, and special needs trusts, just to name a few. Depending on your circumstances, a trust may be a valuable part of your estate plan. An estate planning attorney can help you determine if a trust or trusts is necessary and what type of trust or trust will best protect your interests.
How much does estate planning cost in Idaho?
The cost of creating an estate plan in Idaho may vary based on a few factors, including the size and complexity of your estate and your specific needs. If you do not have a significant amount of money or possessions, or if you have a limited number of dependents, your estate plan may be simple. The cost of an estate plan depends on your specific needs. If you already have an estate plan that needs to be reviewed and updated due to changes in your dependents, beneficiaries, or your assets, that will likely cost less than the creation of a new estate plan.
It is best to speak with an experienced Idaho estate planning attorney regarding fee structures to handle your estate plan. An estate planning lawyer can provide the best legal advice and craft an estate plan that truly fits your needs.
There is also the matter of probate to consider. Probate includes fixed fees in Idaho, such as a filing fee and a publication fee, but also includes expenses that depend on the complexity of your estate.
Can you do your own estate plan?
Yes, you can create your own estate plan. However, drafting your own estate plan can be problematic. Even if you do not have a significant amount of money or material possessions, it is best to consult an Idaho estate planning lawyer to ensure that your estate plan is clear, effective, and, most of all, legally sound. An experienced attorney who understands Idaho estate plan laws will be able to guide you through the estate planning process and identify – and address –potential problems.
Questions to ask your ID estate planning attorney
There are several important questions you should ask your Idaho estate planning attorney. Before hiring the attorney, ask how much of their practice is devoted to estate planning. It is important that you select an experienced estate planning lawyer who is knowledgeable about Idaho estate planning laws.
You should also find out if they handle probate. While estate planning allows you to protect yourself and your assets while you are alive and details how you want your assets distributed after your death, probate is the process of actually distributing those possessions. It is important to have an attorney who is capable of handling both estate planning and probate.
Once you have selected your ID estate planning lawyer, you should ask them the following questions:
- Do I need a living will or medical power of attorney?
- Do I need a durable power of attorney?
- Should I consider a revocable living trust?
- Should I consider a family trust?
- How much should my dependents (spouse, children, grandchildren) inherit from my estate?
An attorney skilled in Idaho estate planning will be able to answer all of these questions and craft an estate plan that protects you, your loved ones, and your legacy.
Contact an Idaho estate planning attorney today
Creating an estate plan that addresses your needs and protects you and your loved ones is essential – regardless of the size of your estate. If you have dependents but do not have an estate plan, it is crucial that you speak with a skilled Idaho estate planning attorney. The experienced estate planning lawyers at Evergreen Elder Care can help. Call us at (208) 770-0259 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.