Estate Planning 101

What is Estate Planning?idaho falls estate planning

If you have significant assets such as owning land in Idaho Falls, Idaho, then hiring a professional estate attorney is vital to have a plan in place while you are alive to prepare for the division of assets. Estate planning is similar to creating a last will and testament, but it is typically requested by individuals owning significant amounts of assets, including:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Businesses
  • Rental properties
  • Multiple homes
  • Expensive artwork or jewelry
  • Several vehicles
  • Water vessels such as houseboats or yachts
  • Items that continue to earn money such as published books or recorded songs

While it is possible for the average person to create a simple will without the assistance of an estate lawyer, anyone owning property that will continue to earn money for an undetermined amount of time should consider professional estate planning to prevent arguments between business partners, spouses and children. Failing to create a written plan concerning your estate before your death or the inability to manage finances due to a catastrophic illness can lead to friends and family members spending many years in courtrooms fighting over your assets.

Estate Plans Protect Your Loved Ones

The regulations about estate planning can vary in each location, including Idaho Falls, and a local estate attorney will understand how to create written documents that will prevent problems after your death or incapacitation due to an injury. The goals of each individual requesting estate planning can vary depending on their particular circumstances. One person may want to make sure that an ex-spouse receives nothing while another person may want to provide property or money for a former wife or husband.

Disposing of Assets before Death

With effective and responsible estate planning, it is also possible to begin disposing of assets while still alive, and there are individuals who choose this option due to a terminal illness or advancing age. One important reason to dispose of assets while still alive is to avoid expensive taxes that are often required when someone inherits property. In addition, estate planning can include providing provisions for the care of minor children, infirm relatives and family pets. Estate planning is becoming more complex because it also involves making decisions about long-term hospitalization or nursing home care for someone in a vegetative or comatose condition.

Important Estate Planning Documents

Some of the documents that an estate lawyer can help you with when planning an estate are:

  • Powers of attorney
  • Trusts
  • Gifts
  • Property ownership
  • Powers of appointment
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Last will and testaments
  • Passing over ownership of a business
  • Funeral or cremation arrangements

An important consideration when engaged in estate planning is discussing the decisions with family members, friends and business partners long before your death or incapacitation to avoid disagreements later. Not only is it possible to create a long list of written documents that are kept in several locations, but more individuals engaged in estate planning are having themselves videotaped on DVDs to prove their wishes after death or incapacitation occurs.

Protect Your Family from a Legal Battle

Nearly 60 percent of the residents of Idaho Falls die without creating any type of end of life documents with the assistance of an estate lawyer, and this has serious consequences for the loved ones of the deceased. During an emotional and traumatic time of their lives, your family will have to decide quickly about the plans for cremation or burial. Within a few days, your spouse and children are faced with meeting with unknown attorneys in courtrooms to determine probate according to state guidelines. While in probate, your family may not have access to cash, a home or vehicles as legal actions take place. If someone objects to a decision made by the courts, then the probate process could require months or years to resolve.