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Idaho Will and Living Trust Laws

Posted by Lacey

Idaho law permits wills and living trusts as legal documents that leaves your estate to your heirs at the time of your death.  Holographic wills which is a handwritten will is permitted but requires that the “material provisions” of the will be in your handwriting.  To ensure that every part of your will is accepted by the court you need to handwrite out the entire will and make sure that no portion of the will is typed or written by somebody else.  You will need to sign and date the will and have it notarized or witnessed.

You can also do a more formal will but it must meet certain standards according to Idaho statutes.  The Will must be witnessed by at least two people, so we suggest you contact an attorney if you want to do a more formal will.  If you die with no Will any real and personal property is distributed according to a fixed formula provided in Idaho law.

You or your spouse cannot disinherit each other in your Will.  Idaho law provides a surviving spouse a minimum forced share that includes up to $4,000 to $10,000 in a homestead and up to $3,500 of other assets.  However, you can sign a community property agreement that gives your assets entirely to your surviving spouse and in this way avoid probate costs.

A Living Trust document also known as a Grantor or Revocable Living Trust is becoming widely used and can help to avoid probate.  This legal document manages and controls your property during your lifetime and then shows how it is distributed at the time of your death.  With a Living Trust you pass on your assets to your spouse or children or other heirs in entirety and without going through probate court.  You simply create the trust by preparing a trust instrument on forms that identify your assets you want to transfer to the trust.  You then name a beneficiary of your trust such as your spouse, children or other heirs and name a trustee for example, you, who will manage the trust.

Today, having both a will and a living trust is the norm.  You can find these documents on line.  However, if you have a complicated or complex estate we suggest you contact an attorney.

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