Planning for Your Future Property, Financial, and Medical Needs in Ada, Canyon, and Elmore Counties
Case Legal Counsel understands the gravity of handling your estate in the context of your family. There are generally three basic components to estate planning in Idaho – the last will and testament, the power of attorney, and the living will. Donna Case is a strategic lawyer who will take the time to understand your situation at a legal and personal level so that she can tailor a unique arrangement for your future estate needs.
Learn more about how Case Legal Counsel can help your Boise estate matter today. Call (208) 203-1295 or contact the firm online for a free consultation.
Last Will and Testament
According to Idaho Code Ann. § 15-2-501, anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind may make a will. This “last will and testament” is a legal document that can help protect your family and property. In particular, a valid will can establish:
- who you leave your property after death;
- a personal guardian to care for any minor children;
- a trusted person to manage property you leave to minor children; and
- a personal representative who makes sure that the terms of the will are carried out.
It is important to have a will, because otherwise your property will be distributed by default according to the state’s intestacy laws, which begin with your closest relatives (spouses, children) to more distant relatives (aunts, cousins).
The power of attorney in Idaho authorizes another person (agent) to make financial decisions concerning your property. An agent can make such decisions with respect to your property, including your finances, whether or not you are able to act for yourself. However, the power of attorney does not authorize the agent to make healthcare decisions. Note that an agent is entitled to reasonable compensation unless otherwise stated.
The agent’s duties are addressed in Idaho Code Ann. § 15-12-301, and they have the responsibility to:
- do what the principal reasonably expects them to do with the property or, if the agent does not know the principal’s expectations, act in the principal’s best interest;
- act in good faith;
- do nothing beyond the authority granted in this power of attorney; and
- disclose their identity as an agent whenever they act for the principal by signing the name of the principal and signing their own name as "agent";
- act loyally for the principal’s benefit;
- avoid conflicts that would impair their ability to act in the principal’s best interest;
- act with care, competence, and diligence;
- keep a record of all receipts, disbursements, and transactions conducted for the principal;
- attempt to preserve the principal’s estate plan if they know the plan and preserving the plan is consistent with the principal’s best interest.
Events that may terminate a power of attorney or an agent’s authority to act under a power of attorney are:
- death of the principal;
- the principal’s revocation of the power of attorney;
- the occurrence of a termination event stated in the power of attorney;
- the purpose of the power of attorney has been fully accomplished; or
- a legal action is filed with the court.
Living Will or Healthcare Directive
While the above durable power of attorney does not authorize healthcare decisions, the living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare does. Such directive specifically establishes that you do not wish for your life to be prolonged artificially under the below circumstances. Any competent person may execute such a directive, and the directive should only be effective if you are unable to communicate your instructions or desires and:
- you have been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state; or
- you have an incurable or irreversible injury, disease, illness or condition, and a medical doctor who has examined you has certified that:
- such injury, disease, illness or condition is terminal;
- the application of artificial life-sustaining procedures would serve only to prolong artificially your life; and
- death is imminent, whether or not artificial life-sustaining procedures are utilized.
Questions? Contact Case Legal Counsel.
Estate planning is an important family matter that should be handled with a professional by your side. Case Legal Counsel has significant experience in both estate planning and family law, which will be beneficial as the firm can help you draft or evaluate a will, petition for powers of attorney, or clarify the terms of your living will.
Schedule a free initial consultation with Case Legal Counsel online or at (208) 203-1295 to discuss your legal options today.
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