Estate Planning Lawyer in Shreveport, LA
If you’re looking for an estate planning lawyer in Shreveport, Louisiana, Theus Law Offices is here to help. Reaching out to an estate planning lawyer is the first step to being prepared for any emergency, and it can greatly benefit your friends and family. No matter how old you are, or how stable your health is, planning an estate is an important process that ensures your loved ones know how to proceed in the event of your death or incapacitation. An unexpected death can cause a crush of emotions that can cloud judgement and split families and friends apart, so it’s essential to do all you can to prevent the stress, frustration, anger, that can complicate the process of dividing your estate to your beneficiaries.
Death isn’t something many of us like to think about – especially our own. However, it’s important to remember that when you plan your estate, you’re doing it for more than just your peace of mind. Ensuring your estate is properly planned out makes processing your passing much easier for your family and friends, and it is the best way to ensure the right people are rewarded the right assets once you’re gone. Without a properly planned estate, your loved ones will have a much more difficult time dealing with your belongings, investments, and debts.
What Happens Without a Will?
If you fail to draft a will, there may be a bitter battle for any inheritance you leave behind. A will establishes who has durable power of attorney: Who is in charge of ensuring the assets are divided up properly between beneficiaries. A will also establishes beneficiaries, and without any instructions to follow after your death, your assets will go right into the hands of the state. This doesn’t mean the state will own everything you’ve worked hard for – but it does mean the state has the authority to distribute your assets however it sees fit.
The state usually appoints a representative to distribute your assets if you have failed to draft a will. While this is typically a spouse or a child, things get complicated if you were ever divorced. If you went through a particularly bitter divorce, but later remarried, who should have the right to choose your beneficiaries and to distribute your assets – your ex, or your most recent spouse? In the eyes of the state, the answer may not be as clear as you’d hope. Fortunately, if you reach out to an estate planning lawyer in Shreveport, LA, you can make sure this sort of difficulty never surfaces.
You may also be asking what happens if you die without a will, because you are aware of the Louisiana Interstate laws. Intestate laws mean that your estate will be handled by shifting the assets and distributing them starting first with children and spouse, before going through extended family. The exact application of Louisiana and to state law depends on two factors, whether the decedent’s property is community property or separate, and whether the decedent had a close enough relationship to the family member.
But this is going to raise new questions such as what is community property or separate property? The answer to this is, Louisiana is one of a handful of states that have a community property system for the ownership of property. Under this particular system, a person’s assets are grouped into categories of either community or separate. If a person is or has been married, you must first analyze which assets are community in which assets are separate.
If a person dies without a will in Louisiana, their separate property is distributed among their relatives. First it goes to the decedent’s children, or their spouse. If the deceased children are also deceased, the decedent’s will inherit by roots. This means that the deceased child’s descendants will share equally in the share that their deceased parent should have taken if their parent has died and has no children surviving. So essentially your grandchildren would have a first claim in the effect that you have no living children
If you have no surviving descendants but you have the surviving parents or siblings the property that is considered separate property passes to the decedent’s parents. Should you only have surviving siblings the siblings will share equally in your property.
But just what does this mean for community property in Louisiana? A deceased person’s property which is defined as community property will be distributed to hit their spouse or just send it depending on the family situation. If you have a surviving spouse, the property will pass to the spouse. Essentially community property passes the surviving spouse as something called life estate. This ends when the surviving spouse dies or remarries, and then it passes to the children. Should you have a surviving spouse but no surviving descendants the community property passes entirely to a surviving spouse.
But now you may be wondering, if there are any valuable assets that do not have to go through interstate laws in Louisiana. The answer is yes. If you have transferred your property to a living trust, it will not be affected by succession laws. Life insurance proceeds, funds and an IRA, 401k, or another type of retirement account, payable on death bank accounts and property that you are owning with somebody else in joint tenancy will not fall under succession law. There are always exceptions to these rules and you should always talk to an estate planning lawyer in Shreveport, LA, to ensure that you were in your right.
What an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Do for You
Dying without a will leaves your friends and family vulnerable in a time of grief. You should allow them to properly mourn, instead of forcing them into a situation in which they’ll have to fight through a lengthy (and damaging) legal battle to get their hands on whatever you’ve left behind. A will is more than just a document saying who gets what: It’s a plan to help your loved ones move on, and it’s important to get in touch with an estate planning lawyer who can make sure your will is as clear as possible.
An estate planning lawyer is a valuable resource when it comes to making sure your family and friends are looked after upon your passing. A qualified attorney can walk you through the most important aspects of your will, and can provide information about what should (and will) happen to your estate once you die. It’s never too late to plan ahead: Get in touch with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Shreveport, LA, and see how Theus Law Offices can help you get prepared.