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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

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

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

Understanding the Benefits of a Special Needs Trust: 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

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

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:

Louisiana Law of Usufruct: Full ownership in Louisiana is broken down into three elements: (1) usus which is the right to use or possess a thing; (2) fructus which is the right to the fruits or income of a thing; and (3) abusus which is the right to abuse or dispose of a thing (either physically or juridically). Per La. Civ. Code art. 535, a usufruct is a real right of limited duration on the property of another.  It combines the first two elements of ownership, usus and fructus.  The person who truly owns the property is known as the naked

Continuing Tutorships and Child Interdictions: A “Continuing Tutorship” is a legal proceeding for special needs children with intellectual disabilities who are age 15, 16, or 17.  The legal standard states that when the child “possesses less than two-thirds of the intellectual functioning of a person of the same age with average intellectual functioning…”  The parents or children usually do not have to make a court appearance.  Based on the documentation given to the court to prove the intellectual disability of the child (usually IEP evaluations/IQ tests, medical and school records), and with the concurrence of the coroner (via a signed

Health Care Decisions without Medical Power of Attorney: If a person is unable to make decisions about personal medical care, some other person must provide direction in decision making.  Many people create a medical power of attorney in advance of any anticipated physical problems.  A power of attorney allows them to appoint an agent or representative to manage their affairs when they become unable to do so themselves.  However, if there is no medical power of attorney in place and no judicially appointed tutor or curator, then health care professionals usually rely on the next of kin or even a close

Successions When a Legatee or Heir Dies: Successions are either intestate or testate.  Intestate successions occur when there is no will, the will is invalid, or the will does not dispose of all the decedent’s property.  Testate successions occur when there is a valid notarial or olographic will.  An heir is a person who inherits property in an intestate succession.  A legatee is a person who is bequeathed property in a testate succession. In Louisiana there are three ways to inherit: (1) in his or her own right, (2) via representation, or (3) via transmission.  An heir inherits in his or her