Choosing to make a Will ensures your estate goes to whom you intend.
Some people don’t see the importance of making a Will. A Will is a written declaration of what will happen to a person’s money and property after they die.
Under Idaho inheritance laws, if a married person dies without a Will, the spouse inherits all the community property and half of the separate property. The remaining half of the separate property is inherited by the decedent’s children.
If, however, the decedent is single and has no children, the next in line to inherit would be the decedent’s living parents. If the parents are deceased, the decedent’s siblings would inherit the decedent’s property. If there are siblings, the estate is divided by the number of siblings, living and dead. Each living sibling receives one share. The share of a deceased sibling is divided equally between his or her children.
Sometimes people fail to make a Will, but verbally state to whom they want their property to go. A Court will not honor a verbal statement. If there is no Will, the inheritance laws must be followed.
I know of a situation where a man died, who had never married and had no children and whose parents were deceased. He told his siblings that he wanted them to have his estate, but he never wrote a Will. His estate ended up being divided among his nieces and nephews, to whom he had never intended to give any money or property.
In another situation, a couple had lived together for years, but never married. They never got around to making Wills and then one of them unexpectedly died. Sadly, the surviving partner inherited nothing. If the deceased partner had written a Will, she could have left everything to her partner.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way for your property to go to those you intend. By creating a Will, your desires will be followed. You can name a Personal Representative to administer your estate, you can name a Guardian and Conservator for a minor or disabled child, and you can designate who will receive your estate.
Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.