Estate Planning 101 Seminar in Boise

Would you like to learn more about Estate Planning in Idaho?  You can!

One thing that you may not know about me, is that I love to give back to the community. One of the ways that I do that is by being a volunteer instructor for the Boise Community Education program.

For the past 3 years, my Estate Planning 101 class has been a student favorite! If you would like to come learn about Estate Planning, go to and look for my class under the Personal Finance & Investments category.

This 2 hour class is an intro to Estate Planning and I specifically discuss the biggest mistakes that most families make when it comes to Estate Planning and how to avoid those mistakes!

My current class schedule is:

September 22, 2015 from 6:30-8:30 PM.  Click Here to Register Now!

October 8, 2015 from 6:30-8:30 PM.   Click Here to Register Now!

If you need help with drafting a wills and Trusts in Idaho, I would love to assist you! Contact Racquel at (208) 384-8588 to schedule a consultation with me.

“Can I Use Do-It-Yourself Forms for Estate Planning?”

I teach an Estate Planning 101 Class through the Boise Community Education program, and one of the most frequent questions I get is about using “Do-It-Yourself” forms.

I always advise people to steer clear of do-it-yourself forms.  Now, I know what you’re thinking:

“Natasha, you’re an attorney….of COURSE you want me to pay YOU instead of just doing it myself”

In reality (this will shock you) I make WAY more money by fixing the mistakes from “Do It Yourself” estate planning documents.

Forms assume that you have a Donna Reed/June Cleaver, Leave It To Beaver type of family.  But that’s just simply not the case nowadays.  With blended families, family drama, beneficiaries with creditor issues, same sex couples, etc. our lives are way more complex.

Your estate planning attorney is not there to merely fill out a form. Instead I, along with other estate planners use our knowledge to prepare an estate plan based on your unique circumstances and in a manner that will ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death.

Your estate planning lawyer knows a lot of stuff that you couldn’t possibly know.
It’s that old phrase: “you don’t know what you don’t know”.

We’ve learned a lot through our years of education and our experience, especially in probating estates and learning from the mistakes others made.

Realize that you are oftentimes not saving yourself money by using do-it-yourself forms.

If you need help with an drafting a wills and Trusts in Idaho, 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

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

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

Happy Planning!



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!

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!

What Information Should You Take to Your Estate Planning Lawyer

 While it may be a bit time-consuming, being prepared when you walk into a meeting with your estate planning attorney will ensure a quicker turnaround time for your estate planning documents.  Here are some of the things that I think are helpful in meeting with your attorney: 

  1. Think of a couple of people who you think would be capable of handling your estate (these people will be named as Personal Representative/Executor in your Will).  Make sure to talk with them to see if they would be willing to take on this role.
  2. Think of a couple of people who you think would be capable of handling your financial affairs and/or health care decisions if you are unable to make the decisions yourself (these people will be named under your Power of Attorney). You will also want to talk with them to see fi they are willing to serve in this role if and when the time comes.
  3. Jot down a list of the people/charities that you want to name as a beneficiary of your estate.
  4. Make a list of all of your assets. Don’t forget to include all bank accounts, Certificates of Deposit, real estate, stocks, 401(k)s, Life Insurance Policies, etc.
  5. Make a list of all of your liabilities such as your mortgage, car loans, debts owed to individuals, loans on a 401(k), etc.
  6. Make a  list of the names and contact information for your accountant, financial advisor, etc. I generally prefer to have this information in my file because after their death, if their executor/personal representative is unfamiliar with the decedent’s assets, these individuals can provide the necessary information and can save the personal representative a lot of time.
  7. You will also need to  list of the names, addresses and birthdates of your children.
  8. If you have a minor child, you will want to think of a couple of people whom you trust to take care of your children in the event that you die before they are 18 years old.  Again, make sure to speak with these individuals beforehand to see if they would be willing to serve as guardian.  What you don’t want is to appoint someone to take care of your children who ultimately decides that they dont feel comfortable serving as guardian. 

Finally, make a list of any questions you may have for your attorney. Together, these things will greatly assist your estate planning lawyer and will help make your initial consultation extremely productive.

Happy Planning!

“Why You Need an Estate Planning Attorney”

I just came across a very disturbing article in SmartMoney Magazine last May that I wanted to share with you. I was very hesitant to spread this poorly researched article, but it raises so many misconceptions that I believe it will serve as a great starting point for me to address several common misconceptions about Estate Planning.

Misconception #1: If Your Estate is Under $3.5 Million, You Won’t Owe Any Estate Tax, So You Don’t Need An Estate Planning.

The Truth: It infuriates me how the author of this ridiculous article quotes some “spokesman” from the IRS, and states:

The overwhelming majority of estates don’t trigger the federal estate tax,” says a spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, as of 2009 you must be worth at least $3.5 million when you die to pay tax at all. If you fall below that—and don’t have any complicated estate issues—you probably don’t need a lawyer to draw up a will for you. Instead, you can use software like Quicken’s WillMaker Plus (around $45 at Amazon. com) and dispense with the whole task in a single afternoon.

The reality of the situation is that we are in a very unsual time right now. As of the time I’m writing this article (2/22/2010), anyone who dies in 2010 will owe no estate tax. However, in 2011, the Estate Tax comes back with an exemption rate of $1 Million and the highest tax rate is over 50%! This will be quite an ugly reality check for the beneficiaries of the estate whose loved one takes SmartMoney’s advice on estate planning…

Additionally there are some issues presented with the “carryover basis” of items inherited right if someone dies in 2010. Typically, the beneficiary gets a “step up in basis” (so, if Grandpa bought land in 1930 for $5000, that is now worth $100,000- in 2009, the beneficiary would receive the “step up in basis” of $100,000. So if he sold the land for $100,000 he would owe no capital gains tax. If Grandpa died this year, unless the tax laws change, the beneficiary gets only a $5,000 basis….so if he sold the land for $100,000 he would have to pay tax on the $95,000 in capital gains. Suffice it to say, things are far more complicated than the media may have you believe, and an estate planning lawyer can assist you in ensuring that you take advantage of all available tax savings tools.

The author of the article also says, unless your estate is “complicated” you don’t need an estate planner. Let’s see what might “complicate” things:

  • Minor children (under 18)
  • Children from a previous marriage
  • Do you want your children to receive their inheritance at the tender age of 18, or do you want to protect your children from creditors, predators, bad marriages, and themselves until they are more mature?
  • Do you want to ensure that your children receive an education?
  • Do any of your beneficiaries have Special Needs – or receive needs-based government assistance like Medicaid?
  • Have you nominated one of your children to be the Trustee over their siblings? Have you considered how this might affect their relationship?
  • Do you have a system in place to remove a Trustee who is not doing their job – without having to take them to court?
  • Do you have an iron-clad system for carrying out your decisions on health care, or finance, if you are not able to speak for yourself?
  • Do you live in a community property state? Have you moved from a non-community property state to a community property state like Idaho? Do you know how this move will affect the characterization of your assets as separate or community property?

These are just a few of the “complications” that an experience estate planner can assist you with, as opposed to a fill-in-the-blank estate planning program.
Misconception #2: Your Lawyer Wants to Be Your Executor:

The article says:

Who should execute your will once you’re gone? It’s a tricky question, especially for parents who don’t want to favor one child over another but who also aren’t crazy about the idea of entrusting the job to the son who just depleted his 401(k) for a new Miata.

In California, for example, where executor fees are based on an estate’s size, a $1 million estate would pay $23,000 to the executor. Many people give the job to family members, who often refuse payment. But an estate planner stepping in to do the job will understandably want to pocket the profit.

The Truth:I can’t speak for every estate planning attorney, but I personally have no desire to be the Executor of my client’s estate. I find that I’m much more valuable to my client’s family in advising and navigating their loved ones through the probate process. I believe that only in the rarest of circumstances should an attorney serve as executor (for example, there is literally no other person whom the client trusts and a corporate executor is impractical due to the fees charged).

Misconception #3: You Need a Living Trust

The Truth:This is pretty much the only thing on which I agree with the author of the article. While Living Trusts may be very favorable in states like California where probate is extremely expensive and time consuming- Idaho is not one of those states. In my experience, clients don’t end up properly funding the trust, and the estate ends up going to probate anyways. Plus, the cost of the Living Trust can be quite hefty. Especially when you consider that in many cases the estate ends up being probated anyways due to the failures of the grantor to properly fund the trust.

Misconception #4: “I make more money in insurance than on planning your estate.”

The Truth:I don’t sell insurance, and I personally don’t know of any estate planning attorneys that do- if they do sell insurance, ask them candidly about their relationship with the Company.

Misconception #5: Once You Have A Will, You’re Done!

The Truth:You need to review your will from time to time, especially in life changing circumstances:

  • Birth of a Child
  • Death of a Spouse, Beneficiary, Executor, etc.
  • Substantial increase in assets
  • Moving to another state
  • Divorce
  • Marriage

Additionally, a good estate planner will follow up with you as there are major changes to the tax code that may affect your estate plan. If you have not revised your will, and you have an estate that is approaching $1 Million, I would suggest that you immediately contact your estate planning attorney and schedule a consultation to discuss the current issues regarding the estate tax. I will discuss the current issues regarding the estate tax in a future article.

Misconception #6: All Estate Planners Are Created Equal

The Truth:  In reality, the best estate planning attorneys to use, in my opinion, are the ones who also frequently handle the probating of estates. The reason is that these attorneys have seen the “other side.” In other words, they know what circumstances arise after an individual’s death. As a result, they have the unique ability to help you avoid the mistakes that others have made.

A “general practicioner” may be able to draft a simple will, power of attorney or living will…but if you have unique circumstances (see Misconception #1) you may be better off going with a more experienced estate planner.

Happy Planning!

Welcome to the Boise Estate Planning Blog

I am an estate planning lawyer with the Boise law firm of Angstman Johnson.

When people think of estate planning, they automatically think of wealthy individuals. This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions out there. If you have a dollar in your pocket, a favorite piece of jewelry, a car, a house, a savings account, etc.- you have an “estate”.

If your “estate” exceeds a certain amount, and you don’t have an estate plan, Uncle Sam may very well be the beneficiary of most of your estate! Even if your assets don’t exceed the applicable exemption amount for estate taxes, if you don’t have a will- the laws of Idaho will dictate who inherits the assets of your estate. To protect against this, you should have a will. In later articles, I will discuss why you absolutely should not use any of the online do-it-yourself wills or write your own will…and it is not because I make more money! In fact, some of the most expensive estates I’ve worked on were for people with modest estates, but whose loved ones either drafted their own will or used a do-it-yourself form. But I will save that topic for another day! Suffice it to say, it is best if you are in Boise to contact an estate planning lawyer.

In addition to preparing for who inherits your assets after you are gone, another part of your estate plan is creating a plan in the event of your incapacity. What happens if you get into a car accident and are unable to make healthcare and financial decisions for yourself?

The simplest way to handle a situation where you are incapacitated for a period of time is to have a Durable General Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. In Boise, many people refer to the Health Care Power of Attorney as an Advanced Directive. In your Health Care Power of Attorney you will designate a Health Care Agent or “Attorney-in-Fact” to make medical decisions for you while you are incapacitated. In your Durable General Power of Attorney, you will designate an Agent or “Attorney-in-Fact” to handle your financial affairs (i.e, pay your bills, sign any contracts, etc.) while you are incapacitated.

For those living in Idaho without these Powers of Attorney, their loved ones may be forced to go to Court to establish a Conservatorship and have a Court appoint a Conservator, who will make health care and financial decisions for you while you an incapacitated. This process can be very costly. In my experience, it has always been far more than the cost of a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney.

The final piece of a simple estate plan is a Living Will. A Living Will is a document where you specify your intentions regarding the use of nutrition, hydration and medication if you are in a terminal condition. I ‘m sure you will recall the unfortunate case of Terri Schiavo, whose family battled for years over what her last wishes were if she had an irreversible terminal condition. Unfortunately, Terri did not have a Living Will, which would have spared her family years of pain and expense.

Together, a Will, Durable General Power of Attorney, Durable Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will are all part of our Estate Planning Package. Of course, we also utilize Living Trusts, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Charitable Trusts along with the numerous other estate planning tools that are available depending on our clients particular needs.

If you’ve been putting off the task of getting together your Estate Plan, hopefully you now realize that waiting is not option. Get that peace of mind today by contacting an experienced estate planning lawyer. If you are in the Boise area, visit our website at or call us at (208) 384-8588.