Estate Planning Areas of Practice
- Estate Planning
- Wills & Trusts
- Living Wills & Advanced Directives
- Durable Powers of Attorney
There are two general categories of documents that will most likely be applicable in the estate planning process. These are simply Documents to Live With and Documents to Die With.
Documents to Live With
These documents will serve and protect you and your wishes while you are living, but at a time when you may not be able to make some decisions on your own (for example, an accident that leaves you in a coma or heavily sedated, unable to make medical decisions).
Power of Attorney¬†
A power of attorney (POA) is a document used to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf.¬† The person designated is called an “attorney-in-fact.”¬† A POA can be made to take effect immediately or it can become effective only if you are unable to make decisions on your own. A POA can give broad legal authority or limited authority to the designated agent to make legal decisions about your property, finances, or medical care.
A Medical POA provides the name of the person (agent) you entrust to make medical decisions in the event you cannot make them for yourself. It also gives the medical community (physicians, etc.) the name of the person they can legally accept as the decision maker for your medical records.
Advanced Directives for Health Care
This document is also known as a “living will” and contains your personal wishes regarding medical treatment, should you be unable to communicate those to a physician.¬† An advanced directive states your wishes on topics such as resuscitation, desired quality of life, and end of life treatments — including treatments you don’t want to receive.¬† This document is primarily between you and your doctor, and it advises them how to approach your treatment.
Documents to Die With
These documents will serve to protect your family and your assets upon your death.¬† The most common documents in this category are Wills and Trusts.
This document makes a clear statement indicating your wishes regarding cremation upon your death. It provides your survivors with direction on how to care for your final remains.
Wills and Trusts
At the death of an individual who owns anything ‚Äď real property or tangible personal property (jewelry, vehicles, etc.) one of three conditions exist:
1) If the estate consists of real or titled property and/or registered property, then an heir generally must seek legal assistance with a probate action in the Courts. And, state law will determine who inherits (and what portion of the estate they inherit), after creditors and taxes have been paid.
2) If there is a Will, an heir must generally seek legal assistance with a probate action in the Courts. The Will determines who inherits what after all creditors and taxes have been paid.
3) If there is a Revocable Trust (also referred to as Living Trust), the heir does not generally need to seek legal advice. However, all creditors and taxes must be paid before distribution of the estate.¬† Then the document itself determines who inherits and what portion of the estate they inherit.
Estate Planning and Tax Issues
As an Attorney and a Certified Public Accountant I can help you address inheritance issues and those of federal and/or state related taxes. We can prepare income taxes, gift taxes reports, and federal estate taxes reports.
Currently, Idaho does not have a state inheritance tax regulation, however that could change in the future. Federal inheritance/estate taxes are also subject to change. We monitor and stay current on all taxation changes for the state and federal government.
As a former auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, I am familiar with the process of representing taxpayers with the Internal Revenue Service and the State Tax Commission. If you have received a notice of additional tax due, or if the agency is refunding less than the return says is due, please contact us. We can review the notice and your return, and if the agency is incorrect (as it sometimes is), we can represent you in getting the issue corrected.