Thanks for stopping by the Boise Estate Planning Lawyer Blog! Press play below for a brief welcome message from me!

This blog is not only about estate planning, but also about Idaho Probate, Guardianships & Conservatorships.

Have a look around and I hope to have the opportunity to serve you in the future.

Happy Planning!

What Steps Should You Take After a Loved One Dies?

Clients, especially those who have been acting as Attorney-in-Fact for a loved one, or those who are named as the Personal Representative/Executor or Trustee in a Will or Trust  always want to know what steps they should be taking after a loved one passes away. 

Below are a few basic tips to get you started to ensure that all assets are secured and that the probate, estate administration or trust administration process, goes smoothly.

1.  Be aware that once an individual passes away, a Power of Attorney is no longer effective.  A Personal Representative or Trustee is who will take over management of assets and payment of debts after death.

2.  Notify the decedent’s frieds, family member, employer or employees of the death.

3.  Look for any specific funeral and burial instructions left by the Decedent.  In my estate planning documents, I typically include a “Funeral and Burial Letter” which is located with the Will or Trust.

4.  Arrangements should be made for the care of the decedent’s pets, if any.

5.  The decedent’s residence should be secured.  You can do this by having either a trusted friend stay at the home or by changing the locks.

6.  Locate the Decedent’s original Will or original Trust document.

7.  Order between 5 and 10 certified copies of the Death Certificate.

8.  If the decedent left a will or trust, you should contact an Idaho Probate Attorney to advise you with respect to the appropriate steps to take to probate the decedent’s estate, if necessary and to learn about the appropriate steps for Estate Administration or Trust Administration in Idaho.  Failure to do so may result in costly mistakes.

9.  If the decedent did not leave a will or trust, but there is property of the Estate (bank accounts, real property, vehicles, etc.) you should also contact an Idaho Probate Attorney to assist you with Intestate administration of the Estate.

10.  If the decedent left a Revocable Living Trust, the Trust likely became irrevocable as of the decedent’s date of death.  The Trust will need its own Tax ID Number.  Your accountant or attorney can assist you with getting this number.

11.  If the Decedent was renting the property, the landlord should be notified

12.  Notify any utility and phone suppliers of the death.

13.  Notify the post office to change the mailing address to the address of the Personal Representative (once appointed) or the Successor Trustee.

14.  Keep track of your time in handling administration of the estate or trust.  You should also keep all receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the Estate or Trust. 

Hiring a competent Idaho Probate Attorney can alleviate a lot of the unnecessary stress that comes with administering a Deceden’t estate or trust. 

My philosophy when it comes to Estate or Trust Administration, is that as your Probate Attorney, I will take the burden off of your shoulders, and guide you step-by-step through the process.  I’ve found that my clients are relieved to have this burden removed, and that it is helpful especially in situations where family members may not get along or have trust issues with one family member administering the Estate.

Hiring a competent Probate Attorney can also save the Estate or Trust money in many instances.  It is always cheaper to prevent a problem, than it is to fix one. 

If you need help with an Idaho estate administration or trust administration, or need assistance going through Idaho Probate, I would love to assist you!  Contact Mindy Moore at (208) 384-8588 to schedule a consultation with me.

Idaho Estate Planning Wrap-Up

Over the past week, I have answered your most burning questions about Estate Planning in Idaho…

  • Do I Need a Will?
  • Can I Write My Own Will?
  • How Much Will My Estate Plan Cost?
  • Do I Need a Living Trust to Avoid Probate?
  • What Documents Should I Take To My Estate Planning Attorney?
  • Do I Need a Power of Attorney in My Estate Plan?

Today’s video will recap this series that I hope you’ve found informative.

If you are located in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star or Kuna, I would love the opportunity to work with you to get you the peace of mind that comes with having your estate planning in order.

Schedule Your Consultation Today at (208) 384-8588.

To learn more about how Natasha and the law firm of Angstman Johnson can assist you with your Idaho estate planning needs, visit us at www.Angstman.com

Happy Planning!

“Is a Power of Attorney Part of An Idaho Estate Plan?”

We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past week….and today I’ll be sharing with you another very important component of your estate plan.

Powers of Attorney.

You may have heard of a Power of Attorney or Financial Power of Attorney or Health Care Power of Attorney.  These documents can provide a much needed peace of mind when it comes to planning for a time when you become incapacitated and are unable to manage your finances or make medical decisions for yourself.

If you do not make a decision now, while you are competent, with respect to who you feel has your best interest at heart with respect to these imporant matters, you may unknowingly place a major financial and emotional burden on your family.

If you do not nominate an individual to serve as your agent or attorney-in-fact under a Power of Attorney, the Court will appoint a conservator or guardian for you.  This is are much more costly process than simply specifying your wishes by executing a Power of Attorney.

In this video, I go into more detail on the various Powers of Attorney that should be incorporated into your estate plan.  Check it out:

If you are located in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star or Kuna, I would love the opportunity to work with you to get you the peace of mind that comes with having your estate planning in order.

Schedule Your Consultation Today at (208) 384-8588.

To learn more about how Natasha and the law firm of Angstman Johnson can assist you with your Idaho estate planning needs, visit us at www.Angstman.com

Happy Planning!

“What Documents Does My Estate Planning Attorney Need?”

Over the past four days, you’ve become very savvy when it comes to knowing the basics of Estate Planning.  : )

Now that you know that you’re going to visit your Idaho estate planning lawyer, you want to ensure that you’re totally prepared for your consulation, right?

In today’s video, I’m going to equip you with the information you need to take to your estate planning consulation.  Make sure you’ve got a pen and paper handy!

When you have these documents handy, it will enable your estate planning attorney to have a meaningful discussion with of whether a will or trust is right for you.

If you are located in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star or Kuna, I would love the opportunity to work with you to get you the peace of mind that comes with having your estate planning in order.

Schedule Your Consultation Today at (208) 384-8588.

To learn more about how Natasha and the law firm of Angstman Johnson can assist you with your Idaho estate planning needs, visit us at www.Angstman.com

Happy Planning!

“Do I Need a Living Trust to Avoid Idaho Probate?”

Over the past 3 days, I’ve answered your most burning questions about Estate Planning in Idaho:

  • Do I Need an Estate Plan?
  • Can I Write My Own Will?
  • How Much Will My Estate Plan Cost?

With so many Californians pouring into Idaho, I’ve seen an increase in the number of requests for Living Trusts (also known as Revocable Trusts).  It seems that Californians are quite fond of Living Trusts (as well they should, California is WAY different than Idaho!) and as a result, many individuals come to me panicked about needing a Living Trust.

In today’s video, I’ll answer:

Do I Need a Living Trust To Avoid Idaho Probate?

Great question, right?

Here’s the answer:

If you are located in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star or Kuna, I would love the opportunity to work with you to get you the peace of mind that comes with having your estate planning in order.

Schedule Your Consultation Today at (208) 384-8588.

To learn more about how Natasha and the law firm of Angstman Johnson can assist you with your Idaho estate planning needs, visit us at www.Angstman.com

Happy Planning!

“How Much Will My Estate Planning Cost?”

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you the perils of creating your own will.

Now, I know what you’re thinking….

How much is my Estate Planning going to cost me in Idaho?

Luckily, Estate Planning is not something that will “break the bank!”

In today’s video, I’ll share with you the costs associated with drafting your will, trust, financal power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and living will.

The answer may very well shock you! (In a good way, of course…..) ; )

I’ll also cover some things that you need to know about when pricing your estate planning attorney….Check it out!

Click the link for my Idaho Estate Planning Fees 

If you are located in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star or Kuna, I would love the opportunity to work with you to get you the peace of mind that comes with having your estate planning in order.

Schedule Your Consultation Today at (208) 384-8588.

To learn more about how Natasha and the law firm of Angstman Johnson can assist you with your Idaho estate planning needs, visit us at www.Angstman.com

Happy Planning!

“Can I Draft My Own Will in Idaho?”

From yesterday’s post, you now know that “yes,” you likely do need an estate plan.

The next logical question for frugal shoppers is this….

Can I Draft My Own Will in Idaho?

In today’s video, you’ll learn about Idaho law as it relates to “holographic” wills (i.e, handwritten wills).  Idaho Code Section 15-2-503 addresses “holographic” wills.

But the bigger question is…. just because you can draft your own will, doesn’t mean that you should draft your own will.

Watch the video and I’ll explain why!

If you are located in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Star or Kuna, I would love the opportunity to work with you to get you the peace of mind that comes with having your estate planning in order.

Schedule Your Consultation Today at (208) 384-8588.

To learn more about how Natasha and the law firm of Angstman Johnson can assist you with your Idaho estate planning needs, visit us at www.Angstman.com

Happy Planning!

Are You Wondering “Do I Need a Will?”

I get this question time and time again from individuals in Idaho…

“Do I Need a Will?” 

Estate planning is not just for wealthy individuals.  A comprehensive estate plan is critical to preserving your family legacy.  Learn more by watching this short video:

If you live in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna or Star, Idaho, I can assist you in drafting wills * revocable living trusts * irrevocable trusts * Life Insurance Trusts * Durable General Power of Attorney * Health Care Power of Attorney * Living Wills.

Make an appointment to speak with me today at (208) 384-8588.

Happy Planning!

The Executor

I had a friend who died and he

On earth so loved and trusted me

That ere he quit this worldly shore

He made me his executor.


He asked me through my natural life

To guard the interests of his wife.

To see that everything was done

Both for his daughter and his son.


I have his money to invest

And though I try my level best

To do that wisely, I’m advised,

My Judgement oft is criticized.


His widow, once so calm and meek,

Comes hot with rage three times a week

And rails at me because I must

To keep my oath, appear unjust.


His children hate the sight of me.

Although their friend I’ve tried to be.

And every relative declares,

I interfere with his affairs.


Now when I die I’ll never ask

A friend to carry such a task

I’ll spare him all such anguish sore

And leave a hired Executor.


- Anonymous

Protecting Your Legacy

One of the common misconceptions about estate planning is that it’s only for “wealthy” people.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

If you have property (jewelry, a house,  a car, a TV, tools, etc.) you have an estate. 

I’ve found in my years of practice that the thing that causes the most drama after a loved-one passes away is not who gets Grandma’s IRA….it’s who gets the gravy dish, the rocking chair, the photo albums, the china.

The little stuff matters A LOT!

I’ve seen families torn apart over holiday ornaments and childhood dolls.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Don’t let your memory be tarnished but such petty things.

Parents always think that their kids will just “get along” and divide things fairly.  Sadly, that’s oftentimes not the case.  

Grief does crazy things to people, and I’ve heard more stories from my clients about how they felt they never really knew their siblings until their parent passed away.    

Other problems arise where you may think that someone knows that they are supposed to get a certain piece of jewelry. But that may not be the case…

Planning in advance will ensure that your final wishes are kept. 

Nothing makes me, as a probate attorney, happier than to assist in probating / adminstering an estate where a client’s wishes were explicit.  I’ve witnessed the effect that this has on the grieving family members…it’s one less thing that they have to worry about. 

The administration is swift, and they can spend time focusing on the lifetime of good memories that their loved one left behind.  

Contact an estate planning attorney today to get a plan in place to preserve your legacy.

Happy Planning!

Be Careful About Who You Choose To Draft Your Will or Trust!

Unfortunately, there are many attorneys who treat estate plans like an order form.

Check here, for children, Check here for single, check there for divorced.

Looking at estate planning in this manner is very dangerous, because you will likely overlook some major areas where you need planning.

Estate planning is not just about taxes or picking a personal representative or an attorney-in-fact.

A will or trust is a final expression of your wishes.  Many family memories have been tarnished due to bitter family battles that ensued upon the death of a family member, where a will did not address internal family dynamics.

A will affects many people’s lives, so the process and the documents drafted should be well-thought out and given the care and attention they deserve.

You, for the most part, probably don’t know what sorts of issues come up after death.  Any attorney who has frequently handled any probate matters, especially contentious ones, like I have, know what sorts of problems pop up if left unaddressed in the estate plan.  These are things like:

-          An 18 year old child who inherits $500,000 and spends it within a couple of months;

-          The spouse who remarries and then leaves all of his/her first spouse’s assets to her new spouse to the exclusion of his children from a previous marriage.

-          The financially irresponsible former spouse ends up managing the minor children’s assets.

-          The distrusted son-in-law who inherits and controls the assets for the grandchildren.

-          The alcoholic or drug-addicted grandchild who inherits $50,000.

This is just a tiny fraction of the issues that can arise, if you don’t select the property estate planning attorney to draft your will or trust.

At your initial consultation, any good estate planner will attempt to uncover family dynamics, clarify your goals and, of course, examine your financial documents and review any previous estate planning documents.   If they don’t–  then you should be cautious, as there is likely something that will be missed.

Many times people are solely focused on cost when it comes to estate planning documents.  As with anything, you get what you pay for.  My fees for estate planning will likely be more than the average general practicioner, but you can rest assured that you will be getting the benefit of an experienced estate planning professional, as opposed to a general practicioner, who only dabbles in wills ever once in a while.

Another big difference is that unlike many general practicioners, the final signing of your documents is more than just “sign on the line”- I will walk you through each of your documents to ensure that you understand what’s actually IN your will.  It is extremely important that you understand what is in your will- and sadly, many general practicioners don’t even understand the meaning of some of the provisions in their own wills!

With that said, if you are ready to schedule your estate planning consultation, contact Mindy with Angstman Johnson at 208-384-8588 to schedule your appointment with attorney Natasha Hazlett.

Happy Planning!

“Bank” on Whole Life for Your Financial Needs – Right Now

In our volatile financial world, it seems like there are no safe havens. The stock market continues to fluctuate. Plummeting real estate values in certain markets have yet to recover. Add to this, the difficulty with getting loans in a credit-strapped lending environment. So, where’s the worried consumer to go for financial stability?  Consider permanent, cash value whole life insurance.

Flexibility and Guarantees

If you know anything about life insurance, it’s probably the fact that it pays a guaranteed death benefit to your heirs that is generally free of federal income taxes.1 And, that’s an incredibly important function and most likely why you are considering life insurance. But cash value whole life insurance also offers substantial benefits available to you while you’re living.

One living benefit of whole life is the easy access it provides to your cash value, generally federal income-tax-free, through policy loans. Need money to pay for an emergency home repair, reduce a credit card debt or cover a shortfall in college tuition? If you want to borrow, you can. Unlike a conventional bank loan, there’s no lengthy approval process, and you can’t be turned down. There are also no credit checks or penalties for repaying money too quickly. In fact, there’s no payment schedule on the loan at all.2  

 The longer you own a whole life insurance policy, the more cash value it will accumulate. As long as you

pay your premiums — which are guaranteed never to increase — you’ll have permanent protection and your cash value will grow on a tax-deferred basis. In addition, your policy is eligible for non-guaranteed, income-tax-free dividends which can help grow your cash value more quickly.

 Upgrading Term to Permanent Cash Value Life            

If you have term life insurance, which only pays a death benefit for a fixed period of time, it is easy to convert your policy to cash value whole life. Your New York Life insurance agent can show you how. Then you, too, can take advantage of the many benefits and stability that whole life insurance can bring to you and your loved ones.

This educational third-party article is being provided as a courtesy by Kimber Ericksen, New York Life Insurance Company.  For additional information on the information or topic(s) discussed, please contact Kimber Ericksen at 208-338-6377, 1109 W Myrtle, Boise, ID 83702, klericksen@ft.newyorklife.com.

 1All guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuer.

2If you do not repay a loan, the cash value and death benefit of your policy will be reduced. Loans can cause a policy to lapse and    may have tax consequences.

Plan for Your Incapacity Before It’s Too Late

With the population aging, and Alzheimer’s and dementia occurring more and more frequently, it is crucial that you put a plan in place in the event that you become incapacitated.  Once you are unable to make financial and health care decisions for yourself, your family has two options:

1.  Conservatorship/ Guardianship

A Conservatorship is a method in which a competent suitable person is appointed by a Court to manage the financial and affairs of an incapacitated party. A Guardianship is a method in which a competent suitable person is appointed by a Court to make the necessary “care” decisions for an incapacitated party. A spouse, adult child or sibling can be appointed conservator/guardian.

The court will make the appointment of the conservator/guardian and oversees the administration of the conservatorship “estate” (i.e, the incapacitated party’s assets).

2.  Durable Powers of Attorney

A competent adult typically may execute a Durable General Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (also known as an Advanced Directive) in order to avoid the necessity of a Conservatorship/Guardianship.

The Durable General Power of Attorney is used to appoint an individual (also known as an Attorney-in-Fact) to manage your financial decisions in the event that you are incapacitated.  The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is used to appoint an individual to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated.

Because a Court is not involved, Durable Powers of Attorney are the most cost-effective way of planning for your incapacity.   If you are over 18 years of age and do not have Durable Powers of Attorney, you should consider talking with an estate planning attorney.  This can save your family a lot of time and expense at an already  difficult time.

To schedule an appointment with Natasha Hazlett at Angstman Johnson to discuss Powers of Attorney or any estate planning or probate matters, call (208) 384-8588.

Below is an article from the New York Times on the rise of Dementia in America.

May 4, 2010

More With Dementia Wander From Home


ASHBURN, Va. — For generations, the prototypical search-and-rescue case in America was Timmy in the well, with Lassie barking insistently to summon help. Lost children and adolescents — from the woods to the mall — generally outnumbered all others.

But last year for the first time, another type of search crossed into first place here in Virginia, marking a profound demographic shift that public safety officials say will increasingly define the future as the nation ages: wandering, confused dementia patients like Freda Machett.

Ms. Machett, 60, suffers from a form of dementia that attacks the brain like Alzheimer’s disease and imposes on many of its victims a restless urge to head out the door. Their journeys, shrouded in a fog of confusion and fragmented memory, are often dangerous and not infrequently fatal. About 6 in 10 dementia victims will wander at least once, health care statistics show, and the numbers are growing worldwide, fueled primarily by Alzheimer’s disease, which has no cure and affects about half of all people over 85.

“It started with five words — ‘I want to go home’ — even though this is her home,” said Ms. Machett’s husband, John, a retired engineer who now cares for his wife full time near Richmond. She has gone off dozens of times in the four years since receiving her diagnosis, three times requiring a police search. “It’s a cruel disease,” he said.

Rising numbers of searches are driving a need to retrain emergency workers, police officers and volunteers around the country who say they throw out just about every generally accepted idea when hunting for people who are, in many ways, lost from the inside out.

“You have to stop thinking logically, because the people you’re looking for are no longer capable of logic,” said Robert B. Schaefer, a retired F.B.I. agent who cared for his wife, Sarah, for 15 years at home through her journey into Alzheimer’s. He now leads two-day training sessions for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Mr. Schaefer told his class of mostly police officers here in northern Virginia that unlike the ordinary lost child or hiker, a dementia wanderer will sometimes take evasive action to avoid detection, especially if the disease has made them paranoid about authority figures.

“We’ve found them in attics and false ceilings, in locked closets — you name it,” said Gene Saunders, a retired police officer from Chesapeake, who started a nonprofit company called Project Lifesaver 11 years ago to help find wanderers or people with other cognitive impairments. The group’s technology, fitting patients with wristbands that can be tracked by police officers with radio devices, is in use in 45 states, but its widest use is here in Virginia.

Wanderers often follow fence or power lines, and tend to be drawn toward water, Virginia state rescue officials said, bound on a mission that only they — and sometimes perhaps not even they — can imagine. (A search trick: try to figure what door they exited from, then concentrate first in that direction. But don’t bother calling out the person’s name, which he or she has often forgotten.)

Searching for them often also means learning a patient’s life story as well, including what sort of work they did, where they went to school and whether they fought in war. Because Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, works backward, destroying the most recent memories first, wanderers are often traveling in time as well as space.

Some World War II veterans, for example, have gone huge distances believing they needed to report to base or the front lines. A man in Virginia was lost for days until searchers, in interviews with his family, learned he had long ago been a dairy farmer, rescue officials said. It turned out he had headed for a cow pasture not far from his home, believing it was time for the morning milking.

The all-too-human stories of exhausted family members caring for Alzheimer’s sufferers must be taken in account as well, searchers say. The son or daughter or spouse who nodded off or was briefly inattentive, allowing a loved one to slip out, might feel guilty, and so understate, sometimes by many hours, how long the person has been gone — a crucial variable because time on the run in turn hugely increases the potential size of the search area.

Meanwhile, cold cases are piling up.

In Arizona, James Langston, the state’s search and rescue coordinator at the Division of Emergency Management, is haunted by the stories of people who simply stride out into the desert in high summer and vanish. A few years ago, a 20,000-square-mile area was searched after an Alzheimer’s patient’s car was found on a dirt road at the desert’s edge, he said. No trace of the person was ever found.

Advanced age, meanwhile, can compound health risks of exposure.

“We’ve had them die in as little as seven hours because they just keep going and don’t recognize they’re getting dehydrated,” Mr. Langston said.

Many states do not collect or fully categorize local data on search-and-rescue cases, so it is impossible to gauge the full impact of dementia wandering on law enforcement. But in Oregon, for example, the number of searches for lost male Alzheimer’s patients nearly doubled just last year, to 26 from 14 in 2008, and has more than tripled since 2006, according to emergency management officials.

For many people involved in those searches — or in training rescuers for the demographic tsunami to come — the turbulent emotions and grief that swirl around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are simply part of the terrain. In the middle of his training courses, Mr. Schaefer sometimes pauses, choked up by memories of his wife, who received her Alzheimer’s diagnosis at age 50. She died 17 years later, having forgotten how to swallow, he said, and then finally, even how to breathe.

On a recent afternoon at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy, Mr. Schaefer told his class about the day he asked her if she knew who he was. He had taken steps by then to keep Ms. Schaefer from wandering away, disguising their home’s doors, for one thing, covering them with posters that looked like bookshelves.

But now he could see the panic and horror in her eyes, he said, that she could not find the right answer to his question. Could she recognize her own husband?

“No,” she answered. “But you take very good care of me.”

For John McClelland, 57, a retired volunteer fire and rescue officer who now leads training courses in Colorado, the story is even more personal: He has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s himself. The disease killed his grandfather and three other people on that side of the family. He said he has already lost the ability to remember the faces of new acquaintances, even a day after meeting them.

Knowing what is coming for him as the fatal disease takes its course has made his training work all the more important and urgent, he said.

“The mission I’m on is that I’m willing to talk about Alzheimer’s as long as I’m articulate,” he said. “The hell of the disease is that I know what’s coming.”

Happy Planning!