If you have children, own property, were recently married or divorced, or wish to make a special bequest to a loved one, you should make or update your will. I can help you with this process to ensure that your will explicitly states your wishes.
A will is a legal document that can include details such as who will inherit what property and money from you, who will take care of your underage children, and identify a trustee for underage or incapacitated beneficiaries. Making a will is very important, for if you don't create one and you pass away, it will be up to the state of Idaho to decide what will happen to your property and who will care for your children. If you are divorced, or were never married to your child's other parent and you die without a will your ex-spouse or the other parent of your child will likely end up being responsible for the money your child inherits from you. If you do not want this person having that responsibility it is important for you to appoint a trustee of your choice in your will.
It is important that you update your will on a regular basis so that your will constantly reflects the state of your life's affairs.
Examples of major reasons for updating a person's will:
- Marriage and children: You may want to stipulate exactly how much you'd like your spouse and children to receive. If you have a new baby or stepchild, you will want to ensure that all of your children are included in your will. You may also want to name legal guardians for your underage children.
- Divorce: You may want to remove the name of your ex-spouse from your will.
- Non Marriage Relationships: If you are in a relationship and are not married, he or she will not inherit anything from you after you pass away unless you specify so in your will.
I provide services for drafting a basic will along with a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and a General Durable Power of Attorney for a flat fee of $200. If a couple comes to me for reciprocal wills I reduce the charge to a total of $350 for both. A basic will contains provisions for testamentary appointment of a guardian for minor or disabled children and appointment of a trustee for managing the funds for a beneficiary until he/she reaches the age you determine. These provisions are important for any person with minor or disabled children as potential beneficiaries.
When someone dies, either with or without leaving a will, there are often estate matters that need to be handled, such as changing title to property and completing tax forms. Probate is when the court supervises the processes that transfer legal title of property from the estate of the person who has died (the "decedent") to his or her beneficiaries. In Idaho probate is not a complex procedure but it is one that is best handled by an attorney. Unless a will is contested or there are difficult issues relating to acquiring title to property probate in Idaho is usually an inexpensive and relatively painless process. I can help you, as personal representative or executor, with the process required to provide you the legal authority to handle the estate and transfer property as your loved one directed in his/her will.
Also, if someone who owes you money has died recently, you may have to file a creditor's claim in Probate Court in order to collect your money from the estate. There are very strict time limits on doing this, so you should contact an attorney right away if you have a claim against a decedent's estate.