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.

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.

“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

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!

Should You Use a Living Trust?

I know… I know…your neighbor’s sister’s friend is a lawyer and she SWEARS that the best estate plan includes a Living Trust. In my experience, Living Trusts rarely end up working out as promised. Here are some common myths about Living Trusts:

Myth #1:  You avoid Probate with a Living Trust and probate is EXPENSIVE and COSTLY! 

In order to avoid Probate using a Living Trust, you must ensure that all assets are titled in the name of the Living Trust.  If the decedent forgets to properly title just one asset, you’ll most likely have to go to Probate.  However, going to probate isn’t all the bad!  There are may states out there where probate is extremely time consuming and costly, but Idaho isn’t one of those states, in my opinion. You may hear stories about probates taking years to complete, but chances are- you don’t know all of the facts.  It could be a dispute among the heirs, or the IRS that is causing the hold-up.  A straight-forward probate doesn’t take long at all.  Many take less than 6 months.  Another thing most proponents of living trusts won’t tell you is that administration of the trust could take just as long as a probate.  

Myth #2:  Assets in a Living Trust Don’t Count for Medicaid Eligibility.

In reality, any assets that can be used for your support will be counted towards your Medicaid eligibility.  A living trust is “revocable” which means that you have the right to withdraw assets at any time, for any purpose, including your own support.  For this reason, assets in a Living Trust will be counted towards your Medicaid eligibility.  Additionally, the assets in a revocable living trust are also subject to the Medicaid recoupment lien once the surviving spouse dies.  Moreover, if your home is titled in the name of the trustee of a living trust, it loses its exempt status for Medicaid purposes.  Only assets in a certain irrevocable trusts may be excluded in determining Medicaid eligibility, 60 months after the assets are transferred to the trust. 

Myth #3:  Creditors can’t reach the assets in your Living Trust:

During your lifetime, the assets in your living trust are subject to creditor’s claims.  Upon your death, the assets in your living trust are subject to the claims of the creditors of your estate.

Myth #4:  By having a Living Trust, I can avoid a Will Contest:

Although a “Trust” and a “Will” are completely different legal instruments, it is true that a Living Trust cannot be the subject of a “Will Contest.”  However, the typical grounds for a will contest:  Undue Influence, Fraud, and Lack of Capacity, apply to Living Trusts as well as Wills.  So, beneficiaries or people who are left out of a living trusts, can attack a Living Trust.

Myth #5:  If I have a Living Trust, it will Save my Estate from Taxation:

A revocable living trust will save no more estate taxes than a properly drafted will with testamentary trust tax-planning provisions.

Myth #6: Attorneys charge from 3% to 10% More to Probate Your Estate:

If your family members hire an attorney to assist with probate, your family will agree upon the attorney’s fee.  It should typically be based on an hourly charge, but in some cases, I will agree to a flat fee regardless of the hours it takes me to complete.  Additionally, I have been brought in on several cases to help a Trustee administer a Living Trust, where the Trustee is not a corporate fiduciary, and has no experience in Trust administration. 

Myth #7:  Everyone Should Have A Living Trust:

In reality, the cost of creating and administering living trusts outweighs the benefits for many individuals.  For some individuals who lack the capacity to manage their assets, or are too ill to manage their assets, a living trust is a useful method of asset management.  Additionally, for those who own real property outside of Idaho, a living trust can be useful for avoiding the other’s state’s probate process.  But, in my experience, the majority of my clients are equally as prepared with a complete estate planning package including: a Will, Durable General Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, and a Living Will.  The price for this simple estate planning package is approximately one-third of the cost of a Living Trust.

To learn more about Boise Estate Planning Attorney Natasha Hazlett visit  To schedule an appointment today, call 208-384-8588

Happy Planning!

Why I LOVE Legal Zoom Estate Planning Documents

Why do I along with most other estate planning attorneys love Legal Zoom and other do-it-yourself estate planning forms? Because those who used Legal Zoom for their Will, Trust or other estate planning documents will likely eventually find their way to an attorney to fix the mess that using LegalZoom created.  (Truth be told, I don’t really like Legal Zoom at all…because of the misconceptions regarding the services provided).

Attorneys make far more money fixing problems resulting from the use of these do-it-yourself jobs; where we would only have made several hundred dollars if the individuals had come to us in the first place to have their estate planning documents properly prepared.

I can’t blame Legal Zoom or the other do-it-yourself folks, because all those services do is prepare documents based on the information you give them. They don’t offer ANY LEGAL ADVICE! In fact, the people that work on your documents are not attorneys and they cannot by law give legal advice. Don’t believe me?

Check out Legal Zoom’s own Disclaimer at, which states:

“LegalZoom is not a law firm, and the employees of LegalZoom are not acting as your attorney. LegalZoom does not practice law and does not give legal advice. … Instead, you are representing yourself in any legal matter you undertake through LegalZoom’s legal document service. … At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.”

I am not joking…the last sentence is actual on their website, and yes, they even emphasized it in BOLD.

The ironic thing is that they claim to save you HUNDREDS or even THOUSANDS of dollars on your estate planning documents over using an attorney YET in their disclaimer they admit they are no substitute for an attorney…

Do I find Legal Zoom’s representations to be misleading? Absolutely.

That’s because I can’t imagine why ANYONE would throw away money on a document preparation service that does no more than fill out a form and check for spelling errors… The fact is MOST people that use Legal Zoom don’t read the disclaimer and actually believe that Legal Zoom is looking out for them like their attorney would.

In reality, 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 effectuate your wishes after your death.

Your estate planning lawyer knows a lot of stuff that you couldn’t possibly 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.

Ultimately, as the beneficiaries of the estate of individuals who used Legal Zoom, wrote their own Will or used some other do-it-yourself form discovered… we may actually be less expensive than the alternative.

To be completely honest with you, although do-it-yourself estate planning documents may be great for my bank account… they may not be good for yours.

If you are one of the many people out there in the Boise area that has a do-it-yourself estate plan…call an experienced estate planning lawyer before it’s too late! It may save your loved ones a lot of time and money after you are gone.

UPDATE:  There is a Class Action lawsuit pending in Missiouri against Legal Zoom for the unauthorized practice of law in that state.  You can see the Complaint here.