Planning for what happens after you are gone can be a complicated process that many people try to avoid. However, it is essential to ensure that all your final wishes are carried out correctly and that your family is not left with a substantial financial burden. Since you will not be there to make sure everything goes as planned, consider hiring an experienced and trustworthy Idaho estate attorney who can help you prepare for the future all while making sure your plans are also legally sound.
We’ve created the following guide about Idaho Estate Attorneys to cover:
What Services Do Idaho Estate Attorneys Offer?
An Idaho estate attorney is a legal expert who specializes in understanding Idaho state and federal laws and regulations that affect what happens to your estate after you die. Here are a few of the things that an Idaho estate attorney can help you with:
Writing and Finalizing Your Will
Your will is a legal document that details your final wishes about how your assets (i.e., money, possessions, and property) should be distributed when you depart from this life. An Idaho estate attorney can make sure that your will abides by all the laws, contains the correct terminology, and thoroughly outlines your wishes. They will help construct a more ironclad will that is safe from anyone who may contest its contents after your passing.
An Idaho estate attorney can appoint beneficiaries (people or entities) that receive your assets after you die. Designating beneficiaries can help streamline the process of them receiving your money or possessions in a timely matter, without court involvement. It can also prevent conflicts between people who each believe they know what was wanted.
Establishing Durable Power of Attorney
If you become incapacitated due to an accident or other medical reason, someone with a durable power of attorney has the legal authority to act on your behalf. In the case of a durable medical power of attorney, they can make decisions about your medical care. An Idaho estate attorney can help you establish this so that you can be prepared in the event of an accident or medical issue.
Reducing or Avoiding Estate Tax
Though it is not always possible to reduce or avoid estate taxes, an Idaho estate attorney will be well-versed in how your assets will be taxed and how you can your lower potential taxes. This means that your beneficiaries will get the most from your assets.
If you have a will in place when you die, it must go through probate. During this process, the will is reviewed to make sure it is authentic. During probate, your will (if you have one) is administered. If you do not have a will, an administrator will be designated to collect and distribute your assets. Probate can be a long and cumbersome process that will keep your assets out of the hands of your heirs. An Idaho estate attorney has expertise in Idaho’s probate process and can help you avoid it if possible. This can relieve a tremendous amount of stress and save a lot of time for your loved ones who might otherwise have to manage the process.
Setting up Trusts
Trusts help to protect your assets from lawsuits, like those from creditors or other legal challengers. Trusts also help to make sure that your assets are properly distributed upon your death. Many people prefer them to help ensure their beneficiaries do not squander inherited assets and that they use them in an appropriate manner.
Choosing Guardians for Your Children
In the event that you die before your children reach the legal age of 18, you’ll want piece of mind knowing that they will be taken care of and loved by someone you trust. An Idaho estate attorney can help you make sure that your children go to the guardian of your choice.
Even if you write a will on your own, it is essential to make sure that it is legally sound so that your assets undoubtedly go to the person that you intend. An Idaho estate attorney can help make sure that your exact wishes are carried out upon your death or if you become incapacitated.
What Should you Ask an Idaho Estate Attorney Before Hiring Them?
When looking for an Idaho estate attorney to work with, there are a few things that you should ask them before making a choice. Here are some great questions to ask first. These questions can help you make sure that the attorney you are hiring knows what they are talking about and will be trustworthy.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
You can ask them about their general law experience or their specific experience as an Idaho estate attorney. Some attorneys only specialize in estate law, while others may work within a few different law areas. You can also ask them questions about your particular case to see if they had experience handling similar cases in the past.
Where Did You Get Your Law Degree?
Ensure the estate attorney’s degree comes from a reputable institution and that they have all the necessary certifications and qualifications.
What is Your Attorney Rate?
Sometimes, an estate attorney will charge by the hour, while others will charge a flat fee. Typically, they will require a retainer to being working. It would help if you ask them about any additional costs, they may charge for other services that are not covered in their introductory price, or if there are any differences in fees when working with one of their legal assistants.
How Will We Communicate?
Sometimes, the estate attorney will be the one to contact you directly, while other times, your point of contact may be their legal assistant. Make sure you know who you will be talking to and how often you will be communicating.
Is This a One-Time Service?
Some estate attorneys will offer one-time service, like creating a will, while others may provide you with updates and consultations for the rest of your life. These services will cost more but can help you better plan for the future, especially, as you near the end of your life.
The answers to these questions can help you decide if a particular Idaho estate attorney is right for your needs.
How Can You Find a Trustworthy Estate Attorney?
When you talk to an estate attorney for the first time, it can give you a good feel for what it is like to work with them. Ensure that you feel comfortable talking with them and sharing personal details to establish a relationship based on trust. If something feels wrong or if you notice any red flags, look for another attorney.
Remember, depending on what you are hiring the Idaho estate attorney to do, you may be working with them for months, or even years, so it is essential to find someone you can trust from the very start. It is highly recommended to research a few different attorneys before choosing one. When you are talking with them, do they sound like they are knowledgeable and experienced? Do they offer you high-quality advice? If your estate is planned poorly or incorrectly, it could be deemed invalid by the court. Remember, estate laws vary by state, so it is vital that the attorney you choose knows all the intricacies for Idaho. Also, look for a lawyer who understands your personal situation and offers you a compassionate ear and sensitivities to your needs.
When everything is taken into consideration, an Idaho estate attorney will likely cost a few thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of your case. Make sure to get as clear of a price as possible upfront so that you are not surprised by the cost later. If an attorney seems like they are not entirely transparent about their services' price, this can be a sign that they might not be honest and should be taken as a red flag.
Is Hiring an Estate Attorney Necessary?
Hiring an Idaho estate attorney to help protect you, distribute your assets, and streamline the process after you are gone is a thoughtful gift to provide to your loved ones during a difficult time. And estate attorney is there to relieve you and your family of frustration, wasted time, and a lot of worry in the long run.
Trying to plan an estate without an attorney is can be a complicated nightmare and can lead to costly mistakes. Idaho laws can be particular when it comes to many aspects of your estate, so hiring an expert who is versed in these intricacies can offer significant benefits. If you try to manage the estate planning process on your own, your family might be in for a surprise when the courts determine that your will is invalid. Occasionally, people avoid hiring estate attorneys because they believe it will be too costly. However, in the long run, they could be paying more for lost assets.
Laws relating to probate and trusts vary by state and are occasionally changed. An Idaho or Washington estate lawyer can help ensure that your documents comply with all regulations in those states. They can also help you revisit your documents from time to time to make adjustments or updates according to asset changes. It is improbable that your will, trusts, and other estate planning documents are a one-time job. Revisiting, reviewing, and rewriting them
during your lifetime is commonplace, so establishing a relationship with an expert Idaho estate attorney makes sense!
A simple estate plan can now be drafted with software like LegalZoom, but there are many things these online programs do not consider, or that you may not know enough to look in to. Therefore, excellent reason to get in touch with an estate planning attorney. As with any lawyer you hire, make sure you do your research first. Ensure that you will be working with a professional who comes with positive recommendations and reviews. This can help you make sure that you choose to work with an attorney who has your best interest at heart.
Who Benefits from Hiring an Idaho Estate Attorney?
Hiring an Idaho estate attorney can benefit all parties involved. While an Idaho estate attorney is necessary in the case of more complex estates, even those living in Idaho who do not have many assets can take advantage of an Idaho estate attorney's expertise.
Testator – Person Creating and Signing a Will
When you have an estate plan in place, you can know that your assets will be protected and distributed how you please in the event of your death. This means that you do not have to worry about your possessions, money, or property falling into the hands of someone like an estranged relative. Also, an estate attorney can help you make plans if you become incapacitated. If you were to get injured and were unable to make decisions about your medical care, an estate attorney could help you choose the right person to carry out your wishes and make decisions for you.
Beneficiary – Person Receiving an Inheritance
An estate attorney can also benefit your heirs and beneficiaries, which, in many cases, are members of your family. They can help ensure that your assets are taxed as little as possible, so your beneficiaries can receive the maximum amount. Also, an estate attorney can help your beneficiaries avoid the probate process if possible, so your assets will get into their hands faster and with less hassle.
Successors of Businesses, Charities, and Those in Need of a Guardian
Estate lawyers can help you sort out more complex legal issues too. Suppose you own a business and need to appoint a successor, have a high net worth, own property or real estate in multiple states, have children under 18, or want to leave some or all of your assets to charity. In that case, this may create a more complicated legal situation when creating your estate. It can also be tricky if you want to leave assets to stepchildren. This usually will not happen unless you deliberately dictate that your assets should be distributed this way. If you are responsible for caring for someone with special needs, you need to appoint someone else as a guardian for them. All these tricky situations can be worked through with an Idaho estate attorney.
The benefits of hiring an estate attorney are clear. Though the upfront costs for an estate attorney may seem unnecessary, they can help your family and loved ones avoid complicated and lengthy legal processes when you are gone. They can help you draft professional legal documents and ensure that all your forms are up to date and in compliance with current Idaho laws. This can leave you feeling assured that your documents will do and say exactly what you want them to, so you know they will accomplish their goals.
What is the Process Like When Working with an Estate Attorney?
Establish Your Wishes and Value of Assets
Find an Idaho estate attorney that offers a consultation. During this time, you can discuss what you need to have done and how the estate attorney can help you achieve your goals. They will likely ask you about your assets and help you list out anything of value you own and may ask you to fill out a questionnaire or document detailing your assets and your wishes. This will help the lawyer get a good idea about your personal estate value and get to know more about your family situation. It can also help them learn who your beneficiaries should be and who your agents should be if you become incapacitated or pass away. This step in the process establishes your wishes.
Drafting Your Will and Other Documents
Next, the attorney will likely begin drafting the appropriate documentation. These documents include your:
- Last Will and Testament
- Living Will (i.e. a document that declares who will make your medical decisions if you become incapacitated)
- Power of Attorney (i.e. who will make financial decisions for you if you're unable to)
- Revocable Living Trust (helps to determine who should manage your assets after you die if you wish to bypass legal fees and hassle of waiting for the court to approve your will)
Signing Final Documents
The last step of the process is getting all the documents reviewed and signed. You may need to sign all the documents in the presence of witnesses and get them notarized. The entire estate planning process usually takes a month or two but can take longer in complex cases. At this point, the process ends unless you are keeping the attorney on board to update your documents. You will likely end up with a packet of forms that are your responsibility to keep safe. It is essential to make sure that these documents are accessible if you were to pass away unexpectedly. If no one knows where they are, and they cannot be accessed, it is like they don't exist.
How Can an Idaho Estate Attorney Can Help Simplify the Process of Creating a Will?
Many people are hesitant about starting the estate planning process. It means taking a hard look at their own lives and thinking about what will happen after they are gone. This is a reality that many people do not want to face, but it is an essential step in keeping your family and loved ones secure after your death. While plenty of people dread the entire estate planning process because it seems complicated and intricate, it does not have to be intimidating. Working with a sensitive and knowledgeable attorney can make the entire process easier, and have you feeling confident that your family with be well cared for.
Brian J. Bean Is Idaho’s Experienced Estate Attorney
Idaho attorney Brian J. Bean is an expert resource who can offer you guidance when it comes time to make estate planning decisions. Brian has years of experience and understands the complexities of estate planning in Idaho. Estate planning makes up a significant portion of Brian's practice, so you know you will be getting high-quality legal advice throughout the entire process. He can help you simplify the complicated process, assure your documents are legally sound, and answer all your questions.
If you are ready to start planning your estate and securing your future, it is never too soon to get started. Brian J. Bean and the entire Charles Bean & Associates team help those looking for an estate planning attorney in the Spokane, Washington, and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho areas. Submit a contact form to schedule your 45 minute consultation or call (208) 664-1574!
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