Frequently asked questions about Estate Planning
What is estate planning?
The term “estate” refers to all of the assets you own. This includes property, money, personal belongings, and sometimes business interests. When you create an estate plan, you are developing a plan to manage your assets if you become incapacitated while you are alive and a plan to distribute your assets after your death. An estate plan also gives directions for the care of any minor children you may have.
Powers of attorney for finances and healthcare and a medical release are a part of many estate plans to be used when you are still alive.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that explains how you want your property distributed after your death. A will also identifies guardians for any children you may have under 18 years old or adult children who are disabled. A will typically goes through the probate process, which requires court involvement.
What is a trust?
How is a will different than a trust?
In the simplest terms, a will leaves your assets in your name while you are alive and gives instructions on how to distribute those assets upon your death, while a trust moves your assets into the name of the trust while you are alive and gives instructions on how those assets are to be used or distributed when you are incapacitated or after you die. A will typically requires probate, while a trust may not. A will names a personal representative to handle your estate after you die, while a trust names a successor trustee for when you are incapacitated or after you die.
How do I know who to pick to be my personal representative or successor trustee?
What happens in Idaho if I don’t have a will or trust?
If you do not have a will (or trust) in place when you die, the State of Idaho has laws that govern how your assets will be divided. This process is called intestate succession. If you are interested, these statutes can be found in Idaho Code, Title 15, Chapter 2. It is important to remember that if you want your estate distributed differently than outlined in the intestate succession statutes, you must have a will or trust in place before you become incapacitated or die.