What to Remember About Last Wills and Testaments in Louisiana
Preparation is important in many things, but it is even more so in something potentially controversial, like deciding how to partition an estate among a person’s survivors. Protecting one’s estate comes with writing a thoroughly-considered testament, which can explain the decisions you have made regarding whom you wish to entrust your assets to when you pass away.
In Louisiana, an estate plan is important. In the absence of a will, a resident dies “intestate,” and your estate devolves according to whether you have children, family, or relatives. That may not necessarily be in line with your wishes. Save your family from having to deal with the consequences of such a situation by making an estate plan. In doing so, one must also account for the possibility of incapacity prior to death.
Make provisions for extended care or incapacity
In the absence of Power or Attorney or Living Will, in the event of incapacitation or inability to manage your own affairs, the Court will need to name a curator, or a representative for your interests. A curator is obligated to act “in the best interests of the interdict,” which sounds beneficial for you. However, the curator is not the interdict. . Put simply, he or she is not you, and can only approximate decisions you will make.
Assets may also be depleted in case of long-term hospital care. Expenses from operations, hospitalization, doctors’ fees, and more can have a serious impact on a person’s financial situation. With the significant costs of healthcare, it is important to plan for how your estate will handle medical expenses when you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Update the beneficiaries of your insurance plans
Decide on primary and contingent beneficiaries for your insurance retirement, accident or life plans. The failure to designate beneficiaries will result in the loss of the tax-deferred growth of assets like these. Check if your plans still reflect your latest sentiments, and make appropriate changes when necessary.
Furthermore, when you do not update your beneficiary designations, your estate assets may be unintentionally distributed in a way that reflects outdated intentions. Your will cannot overrule a beneficiary designation in a retirement or life plan.
Let the Law Office of Chris Stahl handle your last wills and testaments.
Understand usufruct and naked ownership
Something unique to Louisiana law is usufruct and naked ownership laws. Unintended complications may result from a failure in understanding these concepts of Louisiana law and jurisprudence. To help you make the best decisions regarding your situation, it is best to consult with estate planning attorneys who have experience litigating in Louisiana.
Settle financial and legal obligations
Creation of trust can allow a party to avoid, certain tax obligations which may otherwise arise. A trust is also the only instrument which allows a party to exert control over property after death. Anything outside the trust will be left to go through probate. Dependents like minors or persons with special needs will need to have assets put in trust for them.
In general, inheritances must be put in a trust regardless of an heir’s age when the estate owner and their family law attorney agree that it would be imprudent to have the heir handle large sums of money, whether by virtue of inexperience, incapacity, or irresponsibility.
Provide a Letter of Instruction
The letter of instruction must give executors and family members a guide on how to handle the decedent’s affairs. There may be multiple letters of instruction, covering matters specific to the lawyer or family member receiving them.
However, all of these should include the location of the original will and the name and contact information of the decedent’s attorney, financial planner, insurance agent, and CPA.
Other information that may be included in letters such as these are notarized burial instructions, locations of the decedent’s real estate, mineral and financial assets, credentials to digital assets, life insurance policies, and creditor data.
After you draft your will or trust, you should periodically review and update them as necessary. These are highly specific documents, and should always reflect your current sentiments. Complications such as Louisiana-specific laws should also be taken into consideration.
Let us help you carefully plan your estate. Since 2012, The Law Office of Chris Stahl has been writing last wills and testaments in Louisiana.
If you are looking for an estate planning attorney in Bossier, contact me at the Law Office of Chris Stahl today.
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