There is a consistently present fear people have regarding the area of Wills and Trusts. That is, if you die without a Will or Trust, the state of Idaho will take all of your personal belongings. Let me clarify, this is completely possible, but it is highly unlikely to happen in most cases. Let me explain why.
If you die without a Will or Trust, Idaho will create an Estate Plan for you! The State does this through a set of laws called the Laws of Intestate Succession. Depending upon your family dynamics, your property may be divided up between a surviving spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, nieces and nephews, etc. Have you ever watched a movie where a character receives a vast inheritance from a distant, and possibly, unknown aunt or uncle? Well, more likely than not, the character was unknown to the deceased aunt or uncle as well and the inheritance made its way to the character through the Laws of Intestate Succession.
So, that is the good news. There is bad news concerning Intestate Succession. It is an option with many limitations.
First, your wants, wishes and desires will never have a legal voice. This is especially troublesome concerning your minor children. To put it another way, the Law does not care what you think. If you didn’t care enough about it while you were alive, as evidenced by creating an Estate Plan, too bad. You are required to follow the generalized laws of Idaho.
Second, you will not have any control over who will become the guardians of your minor children, or who will be in charge of your assets. Anyone in the world can apply for these positions. ANYONE. If your first thought was of someone you know you would never want to see as guardian of your kids, start making your estate plan. Also, if your minor children are age 14 or older, the Judge will give credence to his or her choice as guardian. Now, reread this section to let that sink in.
Third, death is only one side to Estate Planning. Many of the most trying-times, both financially and emotionally, occur while you are still alive, but unable to communicate (ie, because of incapacitation, incarceration, or mental inability).
Your best course of action is to hire a competent attorney or lawyer to counsel you through the process and to draft your documents for you. If you do not have a lawyer/attorney to call your own, consider Jeppesen Law to help you 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 dealing with the death of a loved one coupled, and dealing with the uncertainty 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, or visit his website at http://www.jeppesenlaw.com, to ensure that your wishes have a voice and that they are carried out.