Law Journal

Property Taxes & Your Trust

When you create your Family Trust, it’s important to make sure your property taxes remain as low as possible. To insure that will be the case, a new application for your homeowner’s property tax exemption must be submitted to the county Assessor’s office.  Along with that, a special Affidavit is submitted which has several pages […]

Opportunities for Special Needs

Children (and other heirs) who receive social security disability benefits (SSI Program) can have their benefits interrupted if they receive an inheritance. Social Security simply stops making additional payments until the child spends all of the inheritance.  Then Social Security resumes making those payments. But with some relatively simple planning, a Living Trust or Family […]

Estate Planning for Blended Families

Blended families tend to create inheritance insecurity. In other words, if a couple each brings children to the marriage, the results may be a loss of inheritance unless careful planning takes place. For example, if each spouse leaves a simple Will leaving all of that spouse’s property to the surviving spouse and then to the […]

Deed Home to Avoid Probate?

I’m periodically asked why parents can’t simply deed their home to their children to avoid probate. If they do so and they’re lucky, that approach could work.  But if they’re not so lucky, the results can be disastrous for the parents, for the children, or for both. So, what could go wrong? Children’s Creditors:  After […]

Difference Between Living Trust & Family Trust?

Among those who choose to use a trust as part of their estate plan, some are called Living Trusts and others are called Family Trusts.  What’s the difference? The answer: “Not much.” Technically, any trust that is set up in a person’s Last Will and Testament is a “Testamentary Trust.” Any trust created and brought […]

Does Everyone Need a Trust?

No.  For some people, a Simple Will is very adequate. A Simple Will is a suitable choice for people with minimal assets and no real estate.  It is also adequate for people who are not interested in taking steps to help their spouse and/or heirs avoid having to go through the expense and delay of […]

How Much are Estate Taxes in Idaho?

Estate taxes (also called “death taxes”) used to be an issue for a significant number of clients.  But due to changes enacted a few years ago by Congress (and signed by President Obama), there are no longer any estate taxes on the first $5.49 Million of property and possessions left to one’s heirs.  And for […]

Updating Out-of-State Wills in Idaho?

Should a Last Will and Testament created in another state be reviewed by a local Idaho attorney when the owner moves to Idaho? My answer is:  Unless you want to make changes to the persons you’ve named as your beneficiaries or as your Executors, there should not be a need to have the document reviewed […]

Cost of Wills?

In an effort to be transparent with my pricing, I post it on my website. If all you need is a Simple Will (one that does not include a trust for young or immature heirs), the cost for an unmarried person is $395 and the cost for a married couple is $525.  That cost includes […]

Risks of On-Line Documents

So what can go wrong with on-line estate planning documents? A couple of things come to mind based on the reviews that I’ve done: Inappropriate provisions:  It’s not uncommon for on-line documents to include provisions that are inconsistent.  Or vague.  Any estate plan should only include language that is easily understood on a first-reading.  If […]

Wit & Wisdom

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- William Lyon Phelps


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