Creating a will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Idaho wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will), to create valid Idaho wills and to assign a person (called the executor in most states) to administer an Idaho last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements of an Idaho Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years old.
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: An Idaho last will and testament must be signed and dated, or another person under the testator's direction and in her presence may sign the will.
Witnesses: Two witnesses must sign an Idaho last will and testament in the presence of the testator, and witness the signing of the will by the testator or the testator's acknowledgement of her signature.
Writing: An Idaho last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A will may make a disposition of property to any person.
Other types of recognized wills:
Holographic Wills: A handwritten will in the testator's writing is recognized in Idaho. However, Idaho laws have specific requirements regarding the validity of handwritten wills to avoid difficulty in the administration of the will.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Idaho laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
LegalZoom's Idaho wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our Idaho wills form may also be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until an estate is settled.
In addition, your will can be used to pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A will may not alter a beneficiary to a life insurance policy.
Community property passes onto the surviving spouse.
A will may not pass on a spouse's separate property.
Providing for Pets
Idaho law currently does not have specific statutes pertaining to providing care for pets. However, the testator may specify a beneficiary as the new owner of a pet. Legalzoom's Idaho wills form gives you the choice of providing for your pets in this manner.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
An Idaho will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
An Idaho will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Idaho laws.
Revoking a Will
An Idaho will and testament may be revoked by the following methods:
(a) By a subsequent will which revokes the prior will or alters terms in the original will
(b) By being burned, torn, canceled, obliterated or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it by the testator or by another person in his presence and by his direction.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of an Idaho last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, and distribute property as designated in the Idaho last will.
Idaho has an estate tax equal to the Federal estate tax credit (currently at $1,500,000). Hence, no additional state estate taxes are due. If any taxes are due, an Idaho estate tax return should be filed with the Idaho State Tax Commission within 9 months of the testator's death.
It is extremely important to make an Idaho will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Idaho laws.
For example, if you die leaving a spouse, then the spouse will receive your half of the community property and separate property. Any surviving children and parents will receive the other half. If you are not married at the time of death, then any children will receive the property in equal shares.
If you make an Idaho will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.