Wills in Idaho

Tip – Idaho now recognizes four types of wills.

Idaho recognizes the following four types of wills:

• First, a paper will that is signed by the testator or testatrix (the legal names for male and female persons signing a will respectively) and signed by two persons each of whom witnessed the signing or the testator’s acknowledgement of the signature of the will.

• Second, a holographic will, which is a will with the signature and the material provisions written in the handwriting of the testator/testatrix. A holographic will may but does not have to be witnessed or notarized to be valid.

• Third, a will written in another state that complies with the laws of the state where it was written.

• Fourth, Idaho recently passed the Electronic Wills Act recognizing electronic wills and setting forth the rules for making an electronic will valid.

Any one of these four types of wills will be accepted by Idaho Court for probate.

Here are mistakes some people make when doing their own will. They print a will off the internet but don’t have it witnessed properly, or they do not clearly express to whom they want their property to go.

When writing a holographic will, some people dictate the will and have another person write it for them. Remember, the material provisions and the signature of a holographic will must be in the testator/ testatrix’s handwriting, or it will be invalid.

If you are considering writing a holographic will, keep your bequest (the disposition of property in a will) simple. If your will is ambiguous the court may not be able to carry out your wishes the way that you intended. Also, make sure to nominate who you want to be your personal representative.

When people live in another state and have property in that state and in Idaho, or if they move to Idaho after writing their will in the other state, Idaho will recognize their will and admit it to probate.

Finally, in March 2023 the Idaho Uniform Electronic Wills Act was enacted. The requirements for the validity of electronic wills are similar to paper wills but with some differences to account for the electronic signing and witnessing. An electronic will can be signed by the testator/testatrix and witnessed by the witnesses electronically, if everyone can see and hear the signing—presumably through a zoom meeting. The will must also be a tamper-evident electronic record to assure
that it has not been tampered with.

In conclusion, any of these wills are valid in Idaho. I anticipate most wills will continue to be paper wills, witnessed by two witnesses and notarized. Nevertheless, you can choose the type of will that best fits your circumstances.

View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all 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.

April 2024