Understanding Estate Planning Basics in Louisiana

– Guidance from Your Probate Lawyer in Bossier City

Planning the equitable distribution of your legacy for your loved ones is the responsible thing to do in your lifetime. No one wants the courts to decide who gets your goods and chattels when you pass. All states have various laws on the books dictating how your estate can be settled. Some of the strictest probate laws in the country belong to the Bayou state.

As you determine how you would like your benefaction settled, it is vital that you consider how Louisiana’s laws will affect your heirs. An established probate lawyer in Bossier City can help you navigate the complex requirements of Louisiana’s legal system.

Expert Advice on Estate Planning Basics in Louisiana

Louisiana uses the term “succession” instead of “probate.” Either term means the process of settling a decedent’s estate by looking at assets, property, taxes, and any claims or liens. Avoid leaving your heirs’ future to a third-party. Here are some essentials to help you understand how succession works.

  • Dying without a Will (Intestate)

    When a person dies without a will, the courts decide who will inherit the deceased’s possessions. What they will look at is whether the assets were held in community or separately and the types of relationships the survivors have with the deceased.

    Separate assets include any property owned prior to a marriage, inherited, or given to a spouse. If you die without a will, your spouse will not inherit any separate assets from you. Instead, they will go to your children or other blood relatives.

    Community property is that which is acquired during marriage or given to a couple at their wedding. When an individual dies, the spouse maintains his or her half of the inheritance, and any children would get the deceased’s half.

  • Dying with a Will (Testate)

    Having a will gives you much more control over your wishes when you pass. For instance, if you want to leave your assets to your second husband because you have not spoken to the daughter from your first marriage in 15 years, you can specify that.

    There are a couple of caveats to remember. If there are any forced heirs, they take precedence. A ‘forced heir’ is your child who is under the age of 24 or is permanently disabled no matter their age.

  • Assets Not Included in Succession

    Not every possession is part of your succession plan in Louisiana. The following items are not included:

    • Bank accounts set up as “payable on death”
    • Property held in living trusts
    • IRA or 401(k) funds
    • Proceeds from life insurance
    • Property held in joint tenancy
    • Property with beneficiary designations

Work with an Experienced Probate Lawyer in Bossier City, Louisiana

Leaving the world without clearly establishing your wishes can leave your family in a bind. When you work with David L. White, you can secure the future of your loved ones. The seasoned professionals at our law practice will provide you with the counsel and representation you need.

Contact your attorney in Bossier City, Louisiana today to ensure your wishes are honored after death and your heirs receive their inheritance the way you intended it. Call us today at 318-747-7023.