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Idaho Probate and Estate Tax Laws

Many states, including Idaho, have adopted the Uniform Probate Code to govern probate within the state. Probate is the court-supervised process through which a deceased person's estate is transferred to their heirs. Most assets must pass through probate, regardless of whether the decedent died with a valid will (testate) or without a valid will (intestate). This article provides a brief overview of Idaho's probate and estate tax laws.

Idaho's Probate Laws Under the Uniform Probate Code

The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) has been adopted by 18 states in whole, and by several others in part. Under the UPC, property that passes through probate and isn't effectively disposed of by the deceased's will passes via the UPC's intestate succession laws. These laws are outlined in the table below.

Code Section

Idaho Code section 15-2-1: Intestate Succession

Share of the Surviving Spouse


The surviving spouse receives the deceased's separate property as follows:

  • If there is no surviving issue or parent of the deceased, the entire intestate estate.
  • If there is no surviving issue but the deceased is survived by a parent or parents, half of the intestate estate.
  • If there are surviving issue of the deceased, half of the intestate estate.

The surviving spouse also receives their half of the couple's community property.

Share of Heirs Other than the Surviving Spouse


Any portion of the deceased's separate property that doesn't pass to the surviving spouse is inherited in the following order until someone is alive to inherit:
  • The issue of the decedent (by representation)
  • The deceased's parent or parents (equally)
  • The deceased's aunts and uncles (by representation), and then
  • The deceased's surviving grandparents or issue of the grandparents

Assets that Pass Outside of Probate

While most assets are required to pass through probate, some can be transferred to a decedent's heirs outside of the probate process. Because the probate can take a long time and be very costly, it is often beneficial to arrange your affairs so that as many of your assets as possible won't go through probate when you die. There are four general ways to transfer assets outside of probate:

  • Joint Property Ownership
  • Death Beneficiaries
  • Revocable Living Trusts, and
  • Gifts

For more information check out FindLaw's article on Avoiding the Probate Process.

Estate Tax

Both the federal government and the state governments have the power to impose an estate tax on the transfer of a person's property when they die. Idaho's estate tax expired in 2004 and the state doesn't currently collect an estate tax. Check out the State Tax Commission's website for information about Idaho's estate tax for deaths before January 1st, 2005. For information about the federal estate tax see FindLaw's article Federal Estate Tax FAQ.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Idaho's probate and estate tax laws contact a local estate planning lawyer.

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