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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

Forced Heirship and Collation: Forced heirship is unique to Louisiana and can dramatically impact your estate plan.  Likewise, collation can have a profound impact on the forced portion and on your succession proceedings.  Forced heirship is designed to prevent a person from disinheriting certain children or grandchildren.  It was born under the presumption that parents desire to treat their children equally. What is Forced Heirship? Per La. Civ. Code art. 1494, a forced heir must receive a portion of their parent’s estate.  This is so regardless of a will or trust to the contrary.  For example, if a will leaves

Importance of a Power of Attorney: Most people recognize the importance of comprehensive estate planning, although they may choose to avoid it for as long as possible.  One important part of your estate plan is your power of attorney (POA).  Basically, a POA is a document that empowers an individual to make legal decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated or are unable to do so for yourself.  You can choose the extent of the authority you grant in the “agent” by working together with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine how to best represent your

Who Wants to Retire? People in their twenties don’t plan for retirement because they think they’ll never die. People in their thirties don’t plan because they are too busy building careers and acquiring assets. People don’t plan during their forties because they’re too busy paying off the college tuition of their children. Most don’t start planning until their fifties, sixties, and seventies and sometimes that’s too late. It’s not too late for you. When are you going to plan? Is your plan current? Laws frequently change and plans should be reviewed and updated to reflect these changes. We offer estate

Updating a Will: People often ask how often they need to review and update their wills and estate planning documents.  Many assume that once they have prepared a will, durable power of attorney, and/or other related documents, these will last for the rest of their lives and never need to be updated. A Will is Your Chance to Write the Law that Favors You. For most people, the most effective method of engaging in sensible estate and Medicaid planning is as straight-forward as preparing a Last Will and Testament and Durable Power of Attorney.  Wills and powers of attorney give