There is a myriad of legal strategies you might consider implementing as you work with an attorney to design your estate plan. In order to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of your estate, an estate plan establishes an orderly and intentional manner for the distribution of your things upon your death.
Estate planning is about protecting what you have for you during your life and for your loved ones after you’re gone. Your personalized plan ensures that your legacy is protected according to your wishes. It doesn’t matter if you have $50,000 or $500,000, you still should plan for the future. If you were to die today, are you comfortable that everything will be taken care of the way you want?
Estate planning can be as simple as having a will, an advanced care directive and a power of attorney prepared for you. But, it can also include a variety of trusts that are designed for your specific needs. The Moore Law Firm strives to provide comprehensive options for the financial security of you and your loved ones through proper asset ownership and the creation of a legal “rulebook” that permits your family to carry out your wishes and promote your values when you are no longer able to do so.
Call us to discuss which of these essential documents need to be included in your estate plan.
Probate, which is known as "succession" in Louisiana, is a legal process for wrapping up the financial affairs of a deceased person (decedent). Generally, the process involves identifying and gathering the assets of the decedent, paying the debts of the decedent, and then distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries.
If the decedent left a valid Last Will and Testament, it will need to be presented to a court to be probated so that the persons named as beneficiaries can legally obtain ownership of the property which was left to them.
If the decedent had no will, Louisiana law provides default rules as to who inherits from the decedent and who ownership will be passed to in connection with the succession. Intestate succession will subject your loved ones to a complicated legal procedure when you pass away. Inheritance priority in most cases of succession is:
This priority chain might seem straightforward, but it becomes quite complex when you pass away with various combinations of surviving children, parents, siblings, and a spouse.
While certain estate planning methods can help you avoid probate, such as creating a living trust, many families must endure a probate proceeding once a loved one has passed. Call the Moore Law Firm to review your matter and determine what type of succession is needed.
Administration is the process of collecting and managing the assets, paying creditor claims, and dealing with any issues that must be resolved before the assets can be distributed. It includes all of the steps that must happen between the time the estate is opened with the court and the date that Judgment of Possession is issued transferring assets to the heirs. This is often a tedious undertaking that may require the guidance of an estate planning attorney.
An important aspect of incorporating a trust into your estate plan is determining how the trust will be administered. A trust is a legal entity that is created by a document which will name a trustee who will oversee the trust. The trustee will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the funds you intend to leave to your family after you pass away, as well as for carrying out your instructions regarding the schedule and amount of payments to the beneficiaries.
The trustee is expected to take actions to promote the best interests of the fund and the beneficiaries. Although the responsibilities of the trustee are aligned with the beneficiaries, they must maintain complete impartiality with the beneficiaries. They have an obligation to protect the assets until they are divided among the beneficiaries, and to manage the money, invest it, and help it to be as productive as possible all while exercising caution regarding how they use the money that is in their care.
An estate planning lawyer who has experience with trusts can guide you in your obligations as trustee in order to avoid liability for failure to follow the instructions contained in the trust document.
When a person has failed to execute a durable power of attorney becomes incapacitated, it may be necessary for family members to file a legal proceeding to establish that the person is incapable of making personal, medical and financial decisions independently. In Louisiana, the legal process is called interdiction. The interdiction process has a specialized legal procedure which must be followed precisely. It can be a lengthy, costly, and complex proceeding.
The process involves filing a lawsuit against the person to be interdicted, serving that person with the lawsuit, appointing an attorney to represent that person during the proceedings, presenting medical testimony of the incapacity, having a hearing before a judge, and obtaining a judgment finding incapacity of that person and appointing a curator and undercurator. Once the curator is qualified and appointed, the curator is permitted to administer the property of the interdicted person and make decisions regarding personal and medical care.