Estate planning

If your estate planning documents were created outside of Idaho, now is the time to review


People regularly move to Idaho from other states and bring with them wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents created in their previous state. These people often ask me if their old estate planning documents are enforceable in Idaho. In general, these documents are still valid in Idaho. However, there are some very important reasons for estate planning documents from another state to be reviewed by an Idaho estate planning attorney. Let’s remind ourselves what each of these documents is and then consider some of the issues to be concerned with wills, trusts, and other out-of-state estate planning documents.

a “The Last Will and Testament” A “Will” is a document used to explain what should happen to your estate and assets upon your death, as well as who should carry out those instructions you left. Trust funds come in many varieties, each with its own purpose. The most common type of trust used in estate planning is known as a trust “Revocable Living Trust.” A revocable living trust is used to avoid the need for your estate to go through a court-controlled process called a revocable living trust “The will.”

Power of attorney documents usually specify who will be the decision-maker if you are alive, but unable to make your own decisions due to some kind of incapacitation. These documents generally come in two categories – making financial decisions and making decisions about health care. and a “living well” Used to indicate the medical treatments you are doing or doing no You want it to be given to you if you are terminally ill with imminent death, or if you are in what is called a ‘persistent vegetative state’.

Each state has its own laws regarding wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, estate taxes, and probate. These laws can have substantial differences. There may be formal requirements that some states require (but others do not) for these documents to be valid, or for the documents to be used without the need for court involvement. Some documents may need to be legalized and notarized in one state, but not in others. A document that does not meet the current formal requirements for your case may be “valid” but is essentially useless from a practical perspective.

If your documents specifically quote or cite statutes (written laws) from your old state, those quotations or citations are unlikely to align with the laws of your new state. Likewise, your old documents may specify that they are governed by and/or construed by the laws of your old state. This may mean that if an Idaho judge needs to interpret your documents, he or she may have to apply your old state laws instead of Idaho law. None of this is perfect so much as it can cause confusion and ambiguity about your Documents app.

Finally, if you move, it is very likely that you no longer live near some of the people you have named in these important documents to fill certain roles (such as “Agent” or “Actual Attorney” under your Power of Attorney document or “Personal Representative” or “Executor /executor” under your will). Are these still the people you want to do those jobs? Can they effectively do these jobs from another country?

An estate planning attorney can help you determine what, if any, needs attention if planning takes place in another state.

My law firm currently offers free telephone, electronic, or in-office advice regarding creating new estate planning documents or revising existing ones.

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Robert J. Green is a senior, trust, estate and guardianship attorney and owner of Kootenai Law Group, PLLC in Coeur d’Alene. If you have questions about estate planning, wills, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianship, Medicaid planning, or VA benefit planning, contact Robert at 208-765-6555,, or visit visit

This is provided as general information and not as legal advice. Do not participate in making legal decisions without the advice of a competent attorney after discussing your specific circumstances.


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