What isEstate Planning?

A wholistic look at your past, present, and future, and the types of decisions that will need to be made concerning your healthcare, property, assets, and yes, what happens when you die. A well drafted estate plan consists of legal documents addressing each of these categories and directs others to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable due to incapacity or death.

Why Create an Estate?

  • Create certainty in your future
  • Ensure future estate related decisions are your own
  • Avoid court intervention/involvement
  • Reduce the stress and burden on loved ones

What Does an Estate Plan Include?

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Trust Agreement
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Business and Financials
  • Living Will and POA for HealthC

When Should an Estate Plan be Reviewed or Modified?

We advise reviewing your estate plan every 2-3 years and anytime the following life changes occur:

  • Move to a new state
  • Birth of a child
  • Receive an inheritance
  • Marriage or Divorce
  • Death in immediate family
  • Increases/decreases in wealth
  • Purchase of assets such as real estate

What isa Last Will and Testament?

A legal document that directs the disposition of property and assets to heirs and beneficiaries. Important legal provisions in a Will include the following:

  • Identification of Heirs/Beneficiaries
  • Identification of Personal Representative
  • Identification of Guardians for Minor(s)
  • Specific Bequests of Personal Property
  • Disposition of all Property and Assets

How will it be Created?

To be valid, Idaho law requires that a Will be signed by the testator in the presence of two (2) witnesses, who must also sign the Will. See I.C. § 15-2-501

Holographic Wills.

Idaho recognizes holographic wills which are Wills in the testator’s own handwriting. See I.C. § 15-2-501. Holographic wills are not recommended due to the complexity of Idaho law and frequency with which they incorrectly dispose of property.

Who Should Have a Will?

Anyone over the age of 18 (or emancipated minors) can execute a Will. We recommend executing a Will upon acquiring any significant property assets, getting married, or starting a family.

What is a Trust?

A legal entity created for holding property, both real and personal. A Trust’s sole purpose is to hold property. Once transferred to the trust, it is the trustee’s job to manage the property on behalf of beneficiaries.

How are Trusts Structured?


the part that creates the trust and transfers property into it


the part that manages the trust and its property


the part that benefits from the trust property

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A trust that property can be transferred into but later removed. Ordinarily, the Trustor designates themselves the Trustee and Beneficiary so that they can both use and control the property during their lifetime. When they die, someone else (usually an heir) takes their place as the trustee and beneficiary so that they can then also control and use the property.

What Types of Trusts are There?

There are many types of trusts, but the most common are revocable living trusts. Other trusts include Irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, special needs trusts, and gun trusts.

Why We Create a Trust.

  • Avoids Probate
  • Effective Immediately (unlike a Will)
  • Creates More Certainty in Transfers to Heirs
  • Control of Property
  • Can place more conditions on use of Property

Do Idaho Trusts Reduce Estate Tax Liabilities?

Idaho does not have an estate tax and the 2023 federal lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is $12.92 million per person, and $25.84 million for married couples. Consequently, a trust is rarely used for tax planning in Idaho unless you have a very large estate.


Do Trusts Protect your Property from Creditors

Trusts offer little to no creditor protection unless an irrevocable trust is created. If you are concerned about creditor protection, entities such as limited liability companies and corporations should be evaluated.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A trust that property can be transferred into but later removed. Ordinarily, the Trustor designates themselves the Trustee and Beneficiary so that they can both use and control the property during their lifetime. When they die, someone else (usually an heir) takes their place as the trustee and beneficiary so that they can then also control and use the property.

What isa Durable Power of Attorney for Finances?

A durable power of attorney for finances is a legal document that gives a third party “agent” the authority to access business and financial information. Agents may also be given authority to make business and finance related decisions on your behalf.

Why Sign a Durable POA?

  • Incapacity or inability to manage your own finances and/or business
  • Convenience of having someone else manage your affairs
  • Out of state or country

What is a Power of Attorney for Health Care?

A legal document that gives a third party “health agent” the power to make health care decisions on your behalf and access your private health care information. Ordinarily, this is a family member, but could be just about anyone you trust with a few exceptions outlined in the Idaho Code.

What is a Living Will?

An end-of-life directive for health care providers. It communicates to healthcare providers the type and extent of treatment you would like when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes due to a terminal injury, illness, or disease.

Why Sign a Living Will and POA for Healthcare?

  • Incapacity or inability to manage your own healthcare related decisions
  • Provide someone else access to your healthcare information
  • Convenience of having someone else assist with your healthcare needs

What is Probate?

The formal process that gives legal recognition to a Will and appoints a personal representative who can administer a decedent’s estate and settle their affairs.

When Must Probate be Started?

Within three (3) years of the decedent’s death. This includes the death of a spouse who has left everything to their surviving spouse; in such circumstances the estate may still need to be probated or a summary administration filed.

How is Probate Started?

The original Will must be filed with an Idaho court. Once the Will is validated by the court, probate will open and the personal representative will receive authority (referred to as letters testamentary) to administer the estate.

What Does the Personal Representative Do?

The personal representative settles the decedent’s affairs, which include, but are not limited to, securing property, distributing property and assets, paying off creditors, closing accounts, and filing taxes.

How Long Does Probate Take?

Idaho law requires probate to remain open for a minimum of six (6) months. This ensures creditors, heirs, beneficiaries, and other interested parties have enough time to bring claims against the decedent’s estate before it closes.

Benefici­aries & Creditors

Must Creditors be Notified?

The estate is required to publish notice of probate in a local newspaper for three (3) consecutive weeks. Creditors have four (4) months from the first publishing date to file a claim against the estate.

Must Beneficiaries be Notified?

Beneficiaries must be given notice of probate within thirty (30) days of probate commencing.

When can Estate Property be Distributed?

Estate property can ordinarily be distributed to beneficiaries once the four (4) month creditor waiting period has expired and creditor claims have been paid or settled.


Can Estate Property be Sold During Probate?

Yes. The personal representative has broad discretion when determining what to do with estate property, which includes selling it to satisfy debts or simplify its distribution to beneficiaries.

What is a Summary Administration?

An abbreviated and less expensive probate available to surviving spouses when they are the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s estate. It takes on average 6-8 weeks. Surviving spouses agree to be liable for their spouses debts and liabilities if they choose this route.p>

What is a Small Estate Administration?

Estates valued under $100,000 can file an affidavit attesting to its value and avoid going through an entire probate saving significant time and money.

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