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You may have heard that having an Idaho estate plan is an integral step as you get older. An estate plan can help protect your assets after you pass and distribute them according to your demands. The legal documentation a part of an estate may seem exhausting, but in the end, it can give you and your loved ones the peace of mind they deserve.

However, if you don’t have an Idaho estate plan put into place, there are some consequences. Let’s check out what some of these consequences are to get a better idea of why an Idaho estate plan is important to have:

1. Your assets may not be distributed to your loved ones (or even be given to the wrong ones)

Without a will or trust a part of an estate plan, there isn’t a legal proposal available that indicates which family members get what and how much. This is a stressful process to deal with, especially for family members who are already mourning your loss.

In fact, there’s something known as the Idaho Intestacy Laws or Laws of Intestate Succession. These laws state that your belongings will instead be distributed down a specific list of people if you don’t have an estate. In other words, there is no guarantee that the family you would have wished to receive your assets will be able to receive any of them because you didn’t have an estate plan.

Assets may even be received by newer family members (e.g., a new husband or wife) before your own children, which may not be what you want. Your estate may even escheat, or in other words, go straight to the state of Idaho.

Even if you do have surviving family members – a spouse, children, brothers, sisters, and the like – disagreements over who gets what is not uncommon. There may even be a case where one family member sues the estate if they feel they didn’t receive the inheritance they deserved. As imagined, this can be a costly, messy, and emotional process.

2. If your loved ones do attempt to receive your assets, they will have to pay more

Once your family does attempt to get your assets in their hands, lack of an estate plan on your end means they will have to pay more. This is because they will have to go through the probate process to prove how your estate will be properly divided. As expected, probate isn’t a simple and straight-forward process. Truthfully, it isn’t fair for them to go through this mess.

Going through probate can cost thousands in both legal fees and in taxes. Not to mention, probate can also delay the time that your loved ones can receive part of the estate, sometimes even dragging on for years. The longer it takes to receive the inheritance, the worse – especially when your family is trying to fund expensive burial and funeral costs.

Even if a spouse or other surviving family member is entitled to receive an inheritance, this individual is required to go through probate if there isn’t an estate plan available, as the Idaho Probate Law states.

3. You may not get the care you want while you’re still living.

Estate planning does not just ensure your assets get received by the right individuals after you pass but can also dictate how you will be cared for if you are incapacitated. A living will in Idaho, also known as a health care directive, legally states what you desire for your own medical care if you are unable to communicate it later on.

For instance, a living will can indicate if you wish to remain on life support if you are terminally ill. As the director of your own life, you have the legal power to decide if you want medical treatment or wish to refuse them in specific cases.

Constructing a living will, and of course, other parts of your estate plan, is really important while you are still healthy. Doing this yourself can safeguard what you want to occur during and after your life, taking the burden off of family who may otherwise be making the decisions for you and may have trouble doing so.

How to Get an Idaho Estate Plan

The only way to avoid the consequences of not having an Idaho Estate Plan is to have one created. If you have yet to have a plan made, or want to revise an older plan, reach out to our team at Idaho Estate Planning to get started.

Idaho Estate Planning is dedicated to helping individuals of all ages legally construct and revise their will and testament, power of attorney, medical directives, and other vital components a part of a formal estate.

Even if you think you are too young or too healthy to be thinking about an estate plan, it’s important to remember that this is actually the best time to begin the estate planning process. Waiting until you are already ill or under the care of someone else may be too late to come up, or even finish, the plan you truly want.