Boise Probate Lawyer
We Help Individuals and Families Navigate Probate In Boise and all the surrounding areas!
When a person passes away, their estate must be settled before their assets can pass to the proper heirs. In Idaho, this often means that the estate has to go through the formal probate process. For close loved ones, probate can be complex, confusing, and even overwhelming. The right lawyer can help guide you through the probate process—ensuring your rights and interests are protected.
At Johnson May, our Boise probate attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources that people and families can rely on. We are a full-service law firm that is committed to protecting the rights of clients and helping them find the best possible solution. If you have any specific questions or concerns about any aspect of the probate process, we are here to help. Contact us at our Boise law office today for a confidential consultation with a top-tier Idaho probate lawyer.
What is Probate?
In Idaho, probate is a legal process that happens after a person passes away. It is how an estate is settled. A court supervised the probate process. It starts with determining whether or not the decedent (person who died) had a valid will. From there, the process will move forward in a structured manner. When it is finalized, property/assets can be distributed to the heirs.
As probate has the potential to be a time-consuming, even frustrating process, people often want to try to find ways to avoid it. The proper estate plan can make a difference. If you have any questions about preparing your own estate for probate—or planning to avoid probate to the greatest extent possible—an experienced Boise estate planning attorney can help.
Note: There is a small estate alternative to probate in Idaho. If the total value of the property left behind that is covered by probate is less than $100,00, the estate can go through a process called “Summary Administration.” It can be a faster, more efficient process in many cases. However, if there is any “real property” as part of the estate—such as primary residence, vacation home, business property, etc—then formal probate will likely be required. If you have any questions about estate administration for small estates, our Boise probate lawyers can help.
An Overview of Probate in Idaho
Probate in Ada County and elsewhere in Idaho can be broadly divided into two categories. Our law firm handles both of the following types of probate cases in Boise:
- Probate With a Will: When someone leaves a will, it will generally include a set of instructions for what should happen to their property and assets. The will names a person—an executor—who is in charge of opening probate and managing the process. The court will confirm the validity of the will. The executor must follow its terms.
- Probate Without a Will: If there is no will, Idaho’s laws decide who gets the assets. It is a process known as intestate succession. A court-appointed person—called an estate administrator—will be appointed. Idaho law will determine who gets to inherit what. If you have questions about intestate succession, contact our Boise law office for help.
Know the Key Steps in the Probate Process in Ada County
How exactly any specific probate will proceed depends on a number of different factors. In some cases, probate can be a relatively smooth, straightforward, and conflict-free process. In other cases, probate can be highly complex and serious disputes can arise. Here is a overview of some of the most important steps of the formal probate process in Ada County, Idaho:
- File an Application to Open Probate: A probate court will not initiate the legal process on its own. Instead, the probate process in Boise starts by filing an application with the Ada County court. Assuming that there is a valid, the executor named within it is the party who should take the responsibility for filing the application to open probate.
- Probate Court Appointed Personal Representative: The court appoints a personal representative to take charge of managing the probate process. Most often, the personal representative will be the executor as named in the will. Though, another party can be appointed if there is no will or if the executor cannot reasonably perform.
- Publish Proper Notice to Notify Creditors: The personal representative must notify creditors of the probate process. Among other things, this involves publishing a notice in a local newspaper. The notice informs potential creditors that they have a limited time to act.
- Conduct a Comprehensive Inventory of the Estate: The personal representative needs to create a detailed inventory of all assets in the estate. An inventory of assets is one of the most vital—and most challenging—aspects of the probate process. If you have any questions about an inventory, a top-tier Boise probate law attorney can help.
- Pay Bills and Approve/Deny Creditor Creditors: Before an estate can be finalized in Idaho, the personal representative must pay valid debts and expenses, such as funeral costs, taxes, and creditor claims. Notably, they will have to make an initial determination as to whether or not such claims are valid.
- Distribution Assets to the Rightful Heirs: Probate ends with heirs/beneficiaries getting the rightful share of the property. After debts and expenses are paid, the remaining assets are distributed to the heirs. Remember, if there is a legally valid will, assets are distributed according to its terms. However, if there is not a valid will, then Idaho’s intestacy laws determine the heirs and how assets are divided.
We Provide a Full Range of Probate Law Services in Boise and Throughout the Region
Johnson May is a full-service law firm that handles the full range of probate matters. We are unwavering dedication to our clients. Our goal is to guide you smoothly through the complex process—no matter what issues might arise. With many decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys handle all types of probate and estate administration matters. Along with other things, our Boise probate lawyers have the skills and experience to help clients with:
- Estate Planning (Limit Exposure to Probate): Planning ahead is key to reducing the stress and uncertainty that can come with managing an estate. Our Boise estate planning attorneys can help you limit your exposure to probate. There are a number of different potential advantages to avoiding probate. Trusts and updated beneficiary designations can help how much of an estate goes through the probate process.
- Estate Administration, including Executor Services: When a loved one passes away, handling their estate can feel overwhelming. Our team is here to lift that burden. We offer comprehensive estate administration services, including acting as executors and supporting executors. If you have any specific questions about estate administration or probate requirements, please do not hesitate to contact our Boise probate lawyers for help.
- Dealing With Creditors Claims in Probate: One of the most common probate challenges that families can face in Idaho is dealing with creditor claims. A creditor could potentially try to claim a significant share of an estate—and their claim may or may not be substantiated. Our Boise probate lawyers are standing by, ready to help executors and/or beneficiaries handle creditor notification requirements and creditor claims.
- Probate Law Representation: Navigating probate can be complicated. Whether you’re executing a will or facing the probate process without one, our Boise probate lawyers provide reliable legal representation. We guide you through each step—making sure you understand your rights, your responsibilities, and your options.
- Probate Disputes (Probate Litigation): Unfortunately, disputes sometimes arise during the probate process. It could be a conflict between two potential heirs or even a conflict between a beneficiary and an executor. A proactive approach is key. If you are locked in any type of probate dispute in Ada County or elsewhere in the region, please do not hesitate to contact our Boise probate litigation attorneys for immediate help.
Probate Law in Idaho: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Every Estate in Idaho Go Through Formal Probate?
No. Not every estate in Idaho requires formal probate. Smaller estates―those below a certain value threshold ($100,000 in our state—may qualify for a simplified procedure if they do not include real property. Ultimately, the necessity for formal probate depends on the estate’s size, the types of assets involved, and how those assets are titled.
What If There are Two Wills—How Does Probate Work?
If there are two wills, the probate court in Idaho must determine which one is legally valid. A person cannot have two valid wills. If both wills were legitimate, it means that the most recent version will likely be the one deemed valid. The court examines a wide range of factors like the will’s creation date, the testator’s mental state, and witnesses.
How Long Does Probate Typically Take in Idaho?
It depends. Probate in Idaho typically takes somewhere between a few months and a year. The timeline will vary based on the estate’s complexity—including things like the clarity of the will, the size of the estate, and whether there are any disputes among beneficiaries or creditors. If a dispute does arise, probate can take multiple years.
Is Probate Necessary for Jointly Owned Property in Idaho?
In Idaho, probate is typically not necessary for property owned jointly with rights of survivorship. Upon the death of one owner, their share automatically passes to the surviving owner(s) without going through probate. Most often, this happens when one spouse passes away. Jointly owned property will generally become the sole property of their surviving spouse through a legal process known as “right of survivorship.” Of course, the specific circumstances always matter. You should always consult with an experienced Boise probate lawyer.
Can You Avoid Probate If You Set Up a Trust?
Yes. Setting up a trust can help you avoid probate in Idaho. Assets held in a trust are transferred directly to beneficiaries upon the trustor’s death. In fact, this means that it bypasses the probate process. A well-structured trust can sometimes save time and money.
What are Beneficiary Designations?
Beneficiary designations are a way to specify who will receive assets from certain accounts like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and some bank accounts upon your death. These designations can pass directly to the listed heir (beneficiary) without going through probate.
What if the Executor is Not Following Will in Probate?
If you are an heir to an estate in Idaho and the executor is not following the will’s instructions during probate, you have rights. Idaho law allows heirs to petition the probate court to review the executor’s actions. If the court finds the executor is not acting in accordance with the will, it can order corrections, replace the executor, or even take legal action against them for breach of duty. Do not delay: Consult with a Boise probate lawyer for immediate help.
Why Rely On Johnson May for Probate Law Support in Boise, Idaho
Probate is complicated. It is normal to have a lot of questions about the process. You do not have to navigate the process alone. At Johnson May, we are proactive and experienced. When you reach out to our Boise law office, you will have a chance to consult with an Idaho probate lawyer who can:
- Listen to your story and answer questions about the probate process;
- Help you gather and prepare all of the supporting documents and records;
- Take care of all of the probate paperwork; and
- Develop a plan of action to protect your rights and your interests.
We understand that every client has unique needs. Our Boise probate lawyers provide personalized attention. We are committed to putting forward the time and resources to ensure that our clients are able to find the very best solution for their specific situation.
Contact Our Boise Probate Law Attorney for a Confidential Consultation
At Johnson May, our Boise probate lawyers are skilled, experienced, and solutions-focused advocates for clients. If you have any questions about the probate process, we are more than ready to help. Give us a phone call now or contact us online for a strictly confidential, no obligation initial consultation. From our law office in Boise, we provide probate law representation in Ada County and throughout the surrounding region.