When Probate Required in Boise, Idaho?

When Probate Required in Boise, Idaho?

Is probate required every time someone dies in Idaho?

Whether or not a particular situation must go through the probate process in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, or Caldwell, is determined by state law.  Except for a few narrow exceptions, the Idaho Code requires probate to occur any time the person who died either (1) had assets with a totalvalue in excess of $100,000 or (2) owned any real estate, regardless of value.

So, if the person did not own any real estate and had total assets worth less than $100,000, probate is not required. Even though not legally required, a family might still opt to go through the process if there are significant creditor claims or if there are substantial disputes between family members.  In those cases, the probate court may prove to be a valuable referee between the disputing parties.

But there are ways to avoid probate for a person who owns real estate or assets in excess of $100,000 in value.  An attorney or lawyer can help you with the following ways of doing so:

  • Living Trusts: The most common and most effective way to avoid probate, while maintaining total control over one’s assets is through the use of a professionally-prepared living trust.  The use of a Living Trust can also provide numerous possible estate tax savings and other benefits, as well.
  • Payable-on-Death Beneficiaries: For people who do not own real estate, but who have other assets worth more than $100,000, there is another means of avoiding probate.   That person can fill out paperwork at the bank or with their stock brokerage indicating who they wish to receive any funds remaining in the account after they have passed away.  Please Note:  This is different than simply adding a person’s name to a bank or brokerage account (which can create problems arising from that person’s creditors and misunderstandings between that person and other family members).
  • Joint Tenancy Ownership: A person who owns real estate in Ada County or Canyon County can also create a joint tenancy ownership with the person who they wish to inherit that real estate.  But please note that a valid joint tenancy form of ownership is difficult to create and is viewed with suspicion by Idaho courts.  This tends to invite legal disputes among family members.  It also immediately exposes the property to claims by creditors of the joint owner.  And it can have serious adverse tax consequences that can be avoided by the use of a Will or a Living Trust.
  • Life Estate Ownership: Similar to joint tenancy ownership, a person who owns real estate anywhere in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, or Caldwell can record a deed that designates who will receive title to the property when they pass away.  In the mean time, the owner continues to have the unrestricted use of the property for the balance of his or her lifetime.  As with joint tenancy ownership, this arrangement can expose the future ownership of the property to the claims of creditors of the person who is to end up with the property.  It also can have serious adverse tax consequences that can be avoided by the use of a Will or a Living Trust.

When all the dust settles, where a person owns property worth more than $100,000, or where he or she owns any real estate, the most effective means of avoiding probate is through the use of a Living Trust.  Properly prepared with the assistance of a skilled attorney or lawyer, it is the best way to avoid probate and also unintended tax consequences and the claims of creditors of the heirs.


Whether you live in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Nampa, or other nearby communities – in fact, anywhere in Ada County or Canyon County – for additional easy-to-understand information on Wills, Trusts, probate, and estate taxes, visit the user-friendly website at BarryPeters-Law.com.  Then call attorney Barry Peters’ offices at (208) 939-2600 for an expedited appointment to begin the process of setting up your own Living Trust.  Or, if you have questions, please call Barry for a free telephone consultation or visit his Q & A pages at BarryPeters-Law.com/common-questions .  As always, your total satisfaction is guaranteed by Barry Peters, Attorney at Law, where all clients receive individual attention to the details of their unique circumstances.

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