Justin Jeppesen: Problems with Intestacy (ie Without a Will)

What happens if you die without creating a Last Will and Testament? Does your estate get eaten up by taxes? Does your estate go to the state of Idaho? I will answer both of those questions this way, probably not.

At this time, March of 2017, Idaho is not imposing an Estate (or Death) Tax. Plus, federal estate taxes are not imposed until an individual has over $5.49M of total assets (including life insurance). So, you are probably not going to incur a bunch of taxes if you pass away without a Will or Trust. You can, but you will have north of $5.49M of assets before estate taxes come into the picture.

Also, Idaho has a means and a method in place called Intestacy, which passes your assets according to the laws of Idaho. Check that out here. Also, there is something called the Table of Consanguinity. So, the likely scenario is that the state of Idaho will not receive any of your assets. However, if you are the very last member of your legal family, that very well could happen, if you don’t have a Will or Trust.

Benefits of having a Will or Trust allow you to limit the already limited likelihood that either of these scenarios can occur.

So, is there an actual negative of dying without a Will or Trust?

First, neither Idaho’s Intestate plan, the Tax Credit, or the Table of Consanguinity provide any assistance with incapacitation. Incapacitation is during life planning, to assist with decision making, finances, or health care while you are alive. Visit this previous post covering Powers of Attorney.

Second, the only decision that Idaho’s Intestate law and the Table of Consanguinity make for you is Who gets your What. It does not cover who gets to be in charge of your assets. Did you know that under Idaho’s laws, a Creditor of yours can legally act as your Personal Representative? That means an agent from Visa, Ford, Walmart, could be in charge of administering your Estate. So, a Uuuuuge benefit of a Will or Trust is the ability to nominate who you want to be your Personal Representative.

Third, you may not like the idea of certain people receiving your assets. Under Idaho’s Intestate law and the Table of Consanguinity, there is no voice given to your wants, wishes, and desires to see who receives your assets. This may not seem like a big deal, but there are so many different potential issues that can arise here. Just Google “problems with intestacy” and scare yourself silly.

Your best course is to have an attorney draft a will for you and spare your loved ones the additional stress of haggling over what you would have wanted done with your things.  After all, there are few things quite as stressful as a family as the death of a loved one coupled with uncertainty in the realm of inheritance rights.

Whether you live in the Meridian, Eagle, Star, Nampa, or Boise areas of Idaho and you don’t have a Will or Trust, call attorney Justin Jeppesen at 208-477-1785.