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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Idaho Estate Planning’s frequently asked questions page.  Your resource to a better understanding of estate planning.

Welcome to Idaho Estate Planning’s FAQ page. Each of the answers to the most frequently asked questions were professionally crafted to help you better understand estate planning and the industry jargon.

Our page is specifically designed to provide clear answers to commonly asked questions about wills, trusts, probate, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, HIPAA regulations, and more. Whether you’re new to estate planning or looking to refine your existing arrangements, our FAQ offers valuable insights tailored to the needs of Idaho residents. Explore this resource to understand the basic terms and processes that protect your legacy and ensure your wishes are honored.

Estate Planning FAQs

What is estate planning?

An Idaho estate plan is a plan to control the distribution of your estate. Your estate includes your assets, your house, other real assets, bank accounts, investment accounts, a business (if applicable), and personal items at death or at a time you become incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.

Who should have an estate plan?

Everyone who has a family, especially those who have minors. An estate plan includes instructions on how your assets are distributed, who they are distributed to (beneficiaries), and who will become guardians of minors. An estate plan is not just for the rich. Everyone has an estate.

When should I create my estate plan?

Individuals should create their estate plans when they enter adulthood and begin acquiring assets, insurance, and retirement. It becomes even more important when you have children. Your estate plan will allow you to give instructions on who will become the guardian of your children if you should pass or become incapacitated.

What if I die or become incapacitated and do not have an estate plan in place?

If you do not have an estate plan in place, the state of Idaho will use its default program. This is called (intestate)—the legislature of Idaho has already determined who will inherit your assets, when they will inherit them, and who may become guardians of your minor children. You may not agree with their plan, but 70 percent of Americans currently use it. Make a plan that honors your wishes and protects your family.

Do I need an attorney to create my estate plan?

It is possible to complete some of your estate planning documents without an attorney. However, beware. One size fits all forms rarely address an individual family’s situation, nor is expert legal counsel available. Completing your estate plan with an estate planning attorney ensures expertise, guidance, validity, and specific attention to your wishes for your family.

How do I get started with my Idaho estate plan?

Getting started with your Idaho estate plan can be overwhelming. Begin by contacting an estate planning attorney in Idaho, preferably one who has a focused practice in estate planning. Consultations are available as well as an opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance on what is next. Idaho Estate Planning is available at or call 208-939-7658.

 Trust (Legal Life Plan) FAQs

What is a Trust?

A trust is like a will in that it provides instructions on handling your affairs. Unlike a will, a trust is also valid during your lifetime in times of incapacity and death. A trust is a legal tool that controls the use, maintenance, and distribution of assets over a period of time. A trust provides privacy by avoiding probate, protecting beneficiaries, preserving benefits, protecting assets from remarriages, and other financial benefits.

What are the benefits of trust administration in Idaho?

Trust administration includes maintaining privacy, as trust documents are not made public, avoiding probate, and seamless asset distribution. By utilizing Idaho Estate Planning’s trust administration services, our estate planning professionals help navigate the complexities of probate laws, saving time and expenses.

Idaho Estate Planning provides unique and customized trust options titled Legal Life Plans™️. These plans were designed with 30 years of estate planning experience.

Who should have a trust?

Individuals and couples who own assets (especially if you have significant assets), who have children (adult or minor), blended families, tax benefits, an interest in protecting assets and beneficiaries, privacy, avoiding probate, and specific wishes for the distribution of their assets. A trust also includes instructions for managing your affairs in life, especially when you no longer can.

What is the difference between and Will and a Trust?

A will and a trust are two common legal instruments used in estate planning, but they serve different purposes.

A will is a legal document that outlines the distribution of a person’s assets upon their passing. It normally goes through the probate process, which can be time-consuming, expensive, subject to court oversight, and additional stress on your loved ones.

A Trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee holds and manages assets on behalf of beneficiaries according to the trust’s instructions and wishes. Unlike a will, a trust can take effect during the creator’s lifetime and may continue after their passing. It can provide ongoing asset management, privacy, and the potential to avoid probate. Trusts can also offer greater flexibility in asset distribution, protection against legal challenges or creditor claims, and the ability to address incapacity planning.

Are there different types of trust?

Yes, there are several types of trusts:

  • Revocable living trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Testamentary trusts
  • Special needs trusts
  • Medicaid asset protection trusts
  • Veteran’s asset protection trusts
  • Miller’s Trust and
  • others

Each type of trust serves different purposes and offers unique advantages in estate planning, asset protection, or tax planning.

Your estate planning attorney should guide you through the process to determine which type of trust is best for your family situation. Contact or call 208-939-7658 to begin.

Do I need an estate planning attorney to complete my trust?

It is not legally required to have an estate planning attorney to complete your Idaho trust, however, there are many benefits to having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Your Idaho estate planning attorney specializes in Idaho’s trust laws, can ensure documents are valid, customization of your trust, avoids costly mistakes, updates and maintains your trust, and provides legal advice and peace of mind.

How often should I review my trust?

It is advised to review and update your trust whenever significant life changes occur, such as marriage, divorce, birth, or acquiring new assets including businesses. At a minimum, review your Idaho trust at least every three years.

Idaho Estate Planning provides a Legal Life Plan Protector Program™ to its trust clients. The Legal Life Plan Protector Program™️ is a proprietary program providing an additional layer of protection for families with a detailed annual review.

If I have a trust from one state and move to another state, should I have my trust reinstated in my new state of residence?

Note that each state has its own estate planning and trust laws. A trust is executed in the state in which it is current, even if the trust creator lives in a different state. Some states provide more favorable trust benefits than minimizing estate taxes for beneficiaries. Idaho estate laws are often more favorable, especially to those in surrounding states.

Moving your trust from one state to another state is called a trust reinstatement. As a trust creator, it is advised to evaluate the potential benefits.

Wills FAQs

What is a will?

A will is a legal document in which you declare who, at your passing, you would like to receive any assets you own and/or appoint a guardian for minors in your home.

Does a will go to Probate Court?

Any assets covered in a will go through probate court. You can declare a personal representative (an agent) of your estate to manage the asset distributions, paperwork, and payments of final debts.  The probate process is public, so any of the issues related to your will, creditors, and distributions are public record.

Who needs a will?

Everyone with minor children needs a will. It is the only way to appoint the new “parent” of an orphaned child. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs. Additionally, assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid death taxes.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you pass away without a will, the Probate Court will decide who will “parent” your minor children and who will receive your assets based on the state’s intestacy laws. The state’s decision may not align with your wishes.

What is a living will?

A living will is also referred to as an Advance Medical Directive. A living will allows you to state your wishes in advance regarding what types of medical life support measures you prefer to have, or have withheld/withdrawn if you are in a terminal condition (without reasonable hope of recovery) and cannot express your wishes yourself. Oftentimes a living will is executed along with a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care, which gives someone legal authority to make your health care decisions when you are unable to do so yourself.

Do I need an estate planning attorney to create my will?

It is possible to create a will without an attorney. However, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is highly recommended. Estate Planning attorneys have experience and knowledge of Idaho estate planning laws and can help navigate the process, ensure your will is properly executed, document validity, uphold your wishes, and minimize the risk of legal complications.

How often should I update my will?

It is advised to review and update your will whenever significant life changes occur, such as marriage, divorce, birth, death, or acquiring new assets and selling assets. At a minimum, review your Idaho will at least every three years.

Probate FAQs

What is probate in Idaho, and why is it an important consideration in estate planning?

Probate is the court and process that looks after people who cannot make their own personal, health care, and financial decisions. These people fall into three categories: Minor Children (under age 18 in most states); Incapacitated Adults; and People who have died without legal arrangements to avoid probate. Probate proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, the court proceeding and associated documents are all a matter of public record. Many people choose to avoid probate to save money, spare their heirs a legal hassle, and keep their personal affairs private.

Is probate required if I have a will?

If you have a will in Idaho, it is likely it will go through probate court to validate the will. Not all estates go through probate in Idaho. If a trust is in place, it’s very possible to avoid probate and save time and expenses.

What are the typical steps involved in the probate process in Idaho?

The probate process in Idaho involves filing the will (if one exists) with the appropriate court, appointing a personal representative (executor), identifying and valuing assets, notifying creditors, paying debts and taxes, resolving disputes, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries.

How long does probate usually take in Idaho?

The duration of probate in Idaho can vary depending on the complexity of the estate, possible disputes, and the court’s workload. Plan for 6-18 months.

How can an Estate Planning attorney assist with probate in Idaho?

An Estate Planning attorney provides experience. This is what they do, understand, and navigate the details of Idaho estate law. They can guide the personal representative (executor) in fulfilling their duties, prepare and file necessary court documents, communicate with creditors and beneficiaries, ensure proper asset valuation, and navigate any legal complexities that may arise. By working closely Idaho Estate Planning’s experienced attorneys, you can streamline the process.