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Louisiana Living Trusts Explained: A trust is a legally binding instrument between a person creating the trust (the grantor) and the person or entity managing the trust and its assets (the trustee).  A grantor may also be referred to as a settlor or trustor.  Like a will, a trust has beneficiaries, who under the terms of the trust, will receive certain assets from the trust. A “living” trust (also called an “inter vivos” trust) allows the grantor to transfer ownership of their property to the trust during their lifetime.  This is in contrast to a testamentary trust which does not

What is Domicile and How Does it Affect Estate Planning? Moving from one state to another is a significant life event.  It should include careful planning and attention to tax details.  Louisiana does not have a state inheritance or estate tax.  This differs from many other states that do impose a state level estate tax, which in many instances is in addition to the federal estate tax.  If you have moved to Louisiana from another state, you may be able to eliminate the state death or estate tax from your prior state.  To do so, you must establish Louisiana as

Successions With Absent Heirs or Legatees: Successions are either intestate or testate.  In an intestate succession, the heirs of the decedent inherit his or her estate.  In a testate succession, the decedent leaves his or her property to one or more legatees.  It is not uncommon for a client to come to our office to open the succession of a loved one, and during the process of determining who all the heirs or legatees are it becomes apparent that the whereabouts of one or more heirs or legatees are unknown.  If attempts at locating them fail, they become known as absent

When to Update a Power of Attorney: A power of attorney (POA) is an important legal tool.  It is commonly used for estate planning, medical management, financial management, and real estate transactions. A POA should be reviewed every few years for possible updates.  It may become necessary to update a power of attorney when life situations change, a new agent is needed, or when there are changes in the law.  You have the right to amend or revoke a power of attorney any time, and doing so is a relatively simple process. Reasons to Update a Power of Attorney: There

Adequate Protection Explained: Adequate protection payments are made to a secured creditor to provide protection for the creditor’s depreciating collateral.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor is granted an automatic stay upon filing of the bankruptcy, meaning creditors cannot pursue usual modes of collection if payments are not made on time.  While Chapter 13 filers are required to start making payments to the Trustee upon filing their proposed plan, the Trustee cannot distribute payments to creditors until the plan in confirmed.  Since it can take many months for a Chapter 13 plan to be confirmed, secured creditors would then

Why You Should Have a Digital Estate Plan:  Estate planning has expanded beyond the traditional scope of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.  In modern times, significant part of our lives exists digitally.  Your traditional estate plan likely does not account for what happens to your digital assets after death.  A digital estate plan comes into play as a method for organizing your online information. Creating a digital estate plan provides access to information that your family can use to carry out your final wishes.  When your loved ones can rely on a written plan that outlines the passwords for

Louisiana Special Needs Trusts Explained: Special needs trusts (SNTs) play a crucial role in the lives of loved ones with disabilities.  The primary benefit of a special needs trust over a typical testamentary trust or living trust is that it won’t disqualify the beneficiary from certain government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  However, navigating the legal intricacies of setting up a special needs trust can be complex, especially given the unique trust laws and regulations of each state. Medicaid and SSI are needs-based government benefits that have specific income and asset requirements that change each year. 

Naming a Tutor in your Will is a Crucial Step: It’s difficult to think about the situation where a young child loses both of his or her parents, but this is the time when a tutor would step in to take care of the child.  Naming a tutor is often overlooked when preparing a last will and testament, especially when someone writes their own will.  In many instances though, naming a tutor is the main reason for writing a will.  It is not uncommon for someone’s final wishes to coincide with the default laws of intestacy. For instance, perhaps a

Debt May Survive Discharge When a Debtor Fails to List a Debt in Bankruptcy: It is required that a debtor list all of his or her creditors and their most current address in the bankruptcy schedules.  If they fail to do so, a judge may not discharge the debt.  Listing all debts is required so that the court can properly notify the creditors by mail.  Creditors have important rights in a bankruptcy, such as filing proofs of claim and objections, and not listing them deprives them of exercising those rights. If a debtor forgets to list a creditor on their

Why Having a Last Will for Separate Property is Crucial: It is common for married couples to acquire property prior to the marriage.  This property is considered separate property.  Because the order of succession is different for community property and separate property, it is imperative to know what will happen to your property if you die without a last will and testament.  Often times, the intestate laws are in direct conflict with the actual wishes of the property owner.  When that is the case, you should strongly consider creating a will as part of your estate plan. Classification of Property: