6 Frequently Asked Questions About Idaho Estate Law & Planning

by Zach Stevens

Is There An Inheritance Tax Or An Estate Tax In Idaho?

idaho falls estate attorneysThe State of Idaho itself does not levy inheritance or estate taxes. However, if you are inheriting property from another state that does, then those taxes will apply. 

There are also taxes you may be required to pay on behalf of the deceased, and larger estates are often subject to federal estate tax. 

So, even though Idaho itself doesn’t levy estate or inheritance taxes, you may still be subject to taxation on the estate due to other circumstances. In these cases, an Idaho Falls estate law attorney can help eliminate or limit them.

When Someone Dies, What Taxes Are Owed By Their Survivors?

  • Final individual federal and state income tax returns – due by Tax Day the year of their passing.
  • Federal estate tax return – if the estate exceeds a gross asset and prior taxable gift value of $11.58 million in the year of 2020, these are due 9 months following the person’s death. Keep in mind, however, that there is a six-month extension available if filed for before the 9 month period is up.

Our Idaho Falls estate attorneys can help you in all of these matters.

What Happens If I Die In Idaho Without A Will?

While it isn’t true that in the absence of a last will and testament all of your property goes to the government, this doesn’t mean that government oversight into the dispersal of your estate won’t occur at all; many statutes have been put in place to provide you a sort of “default” last will and testament – based on the laws of intestacy – if you lack one of your own, but how your estate is passed on to your loved ones in this regard may not be in their best interest or yours.

idaho falls estate attorneys

If you die without a will in Idaho, the state follows intestate succession laws in order to determine how much of your estate is passed on, and to whom. 

The court will appoint an adult relative or surviving spouse as the executor, AKA, personal representative. This person is responsible for protecting your property until all taxes and debts have been paid. They can then decide how (what is left of) your estate will be transferred to your heirs.

Not only does this run the risk of your estate not being passed on as you see fit, but dying intestate – that is to say, dying without a will – can put a lot of stress on your heirs.

It’s far better to die with a living will and testament that has been constructed with the help of an Idaho Falls estate attorney to ensure your estate is passed on in the best interests of you and your family.

Do I Need A Will If I Have A Trust?

The short answer is yes.

While trusts are legal entities that hold your assets during your life or upon your death in order to give you more control over the distribution of your property (not allowing certain individuals access until they’ve reached a certain age, for example), a will may still be required to get the property into the trust after you die.

This is a typical occurrence – people set up trusts yet fail to actually transfer much of their assets. It’s for this reason that you should establish a will with an Idaho Falls estate attorney – one that gives them power of attorney over your estate if you’re unable to access and manage it – to ensure that all of your property is transferred into the trust, later to be distributed based on its language.

Am I Required To Reveal My Will To My Spouse, Children, Or Anyone Else Involved?

The short answer here is no. 

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However, many Idaho Falls estate attorneys don’t typically recommend this. There are many reasons why you would want to reveal your will to a spouse or close relative.

For instance, a person is not required by law to do anything you request of them in your last will and testament. Unforeseen circumstances may lead them to refuse your requests and this can offset your estate planning.

Going over your last will and testament with certain individuals is a good idea – you can see their reaction and possibly get some assurance that they will accommodate your wishes. It also gives them time for their own planning and preparation.

All of this said, the entirety of your last will and testament doesn’t have to be revealed to anyone; instead, you can present them a summary form that has only specific details and information you need them to see.

What Do Estate Planning Attorneys Do?

idaho falls estate attorneys

Idaho Falls estate attorneys offer legal advice and strategies on maintaining your estate after you die or become too disabled to work. 

Estate attorneys seek to understand your goals and desires in regards to the maintenance of your estate and how it is passed on your loved ones.

Of course, there are many factors that go into this. 

  • You may want to pass something on to certain individuals only after they’ve reached a certain age or attained a certain amount of education.
  • You may want to pass something on to individuals only if they uphold certain ethical or religious standards that you hold.
  • You may want to donate a portion of your estate to charities or institutions that you support.

These kinds of goals vary from person to person, and it’s the job of an Idaho Falls estate attorney to ensure these goals are met while limiting taxation and government overreach as much as possible.

As your final will and testament must, if it is to be effective, meet the requirements and guidelines of the law – both on the state and federal level – an estate attorney is an invaluable resource in this regard.

Estate attorneys can:

  • Establish a Property Power of Attorney – a legal document transferring the legal right of management of your property to your attorney if you aren’t able to do so yourself;
  • Reduce or eliminate estate taxes;
  • Help you prepare a sound and legally effective will;
  • Help you establish a Living Trust;
  • Ensure that guardianship of your estate doesn’t fall into the hands of minors or those unable to manage it; and
  • Pass on your property to people and organizations you see fit.

MZJ – Idaho Falls Estate Attorneys

MZJ’s estate attorneys have many years of experience in all aspects of estate law and estate planning. Contact us today for a consultation.

We’ll get you on your way to a secure last will and testament that will ensure the safe and responsible transfer of your estate.

Estate Planning Form

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