Estate Planning Lawyer Louisiana

Estate-Planning-Lawyer-Louisiana-estate-planning-image.jpegWhen planning for the future, an estate planning lawyer Louisiana residents recommend is a vital asset to ensure that wishes are carried out in the way you would like. The estate planning process is quite complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Our team at Theus Law Offices can offer counsel that assists clients in clearly outlining their plans for the future. Upon creating an estate plan, many people experience immense relief that the estate plan, which is often neglected, has been executed. However, they should be regularly updated over time for final wishes to truly be completed correctly. A lawyer from an experienced law firm can assist clients by listening to their needs and developing an estate plan that leaves nothing out. 

It is never too early to start thinking about estate planning. In fact, the earlier you start, the better prepared you will be in case of unexpected events such as incapacity or premature death. Regardless of age, income level, or family situation, everyone can benefit from having an estate plan in place.

If you have children or other dependents, it is especially important to have an estate plan. In the event of your unexpected death or incapacity, an estate plan can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and that their needs are met. An estate plan can also help minimize family disputes and ensure that your wishes are carried out.

If you own any assets, such as a home, retirement accounts, or investments, having an estate plan can help ensure that those assets are distributed according to your wishes. Without a plan in place, your assets may be subject to probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. An estate plan can also help minimize taxes and administrative costs, ensuring that more of your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries.

If you’re one of the 43% of Americans who don’t have a will, you should seek out an estate planning lawyer Louisiana. Even if you do have a will, it may not be compliant with Louisiana law or it could be outdated and need to be amended to reflect changes in your life, such as marriage or divorce, or new children in your family. An estate planning lawyer can also help you with any other legal issues that come up during your life and are related to wills and probate laws, such as making health care decisions in case of incapacitation or finding missing heirs. Contact a lawyer at Theus Law Offices for help with your case today.

In short, the best time to get an estate plan is now. Whether you are young or old, have a large or small estate, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and goals, and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Table Of Contents:

The Estate Planning Process

Developing an estate plan involves deciding how assets will be distributed. In addition to plans for the distribution of assets to beneficiaries, plans are also made regarding who will manage these assets. These plans stem beyond just asset planning and management; estate planning also involves the process of determining critical aspects of a person’s life, such as who will care for their children and how they will be financially cared for. It’s important to note that an estate plan is far more extensive than a will. It also incorporates procedures for when a person is incapacitated or unable to make decisions independently. When working with a Louisiana estate planning lawyer, they will guide you in establishing each aspect of the estate plan, which may include: 

  • Letter of Intent
  • The Will
  • Advanced Directive
  • Power of Attorney
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Guardianship Designations
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Executor

Each of these documents will make up a complete and well-thought-out plan for the future. By taking the time to make important decisions about the future, the estate owner can ensure that they have a voice when they are no longer able to make decisions and that their family and loved ones have a clear roadmap for the future. 

Choosing Beneficiaries

As an estate planning lawyer Louisiana families trust at Theus Law Offices explains, beneficiaries are individuals or charitable organizations that you want to give some or all of your assets upon your death. Beneficiaries can be any person or charity that means something to you in your life. Ultimately, the people you choose to have assets should be those who will cherish your gift to them and hold you in high regard. We understand that there are family dynamics to consider, and there may be people who you absolutely do not want to receive a portion of your estate. Your lawyer can help you draft a document to state that these individuals are not to be awarded anything, even if they come forward to contest your will and wishes.

Getting Started

Before you can write your estate plan, you have to know what your assets are. Begin by taking a look around your home and writing down a list of the belongings you see. Do you have an expensive dishware set? Do you have an artwork collection? Are there vehicles parked out front? And are there items that may not be of much value, but have sentimentality? Getting started can seem like a daunting task, but thankfully, there are legal professionals like a Louisiana estate planning lawyer who can guide you every step of the way.

You may be tempted to utilize generic software online that generates estate plan documents for you. But be wary that this approach can cause serious issues in the future, particularly if these documents end up not being as legally binding as they could have been. Generic estate plan programs also do not account for special cases or other nuances. The last thing you want is to have your estate plan complete, only to have it not be as effective as it could have been if you had a lawyer review the paperwork before solidifying. After you pass away, there is a chance that your documents could be contested if there are issues with them, further risking your final wishes not being followed.

Lawyer Review Documents

If you are wondering who is the best person to help you write an estate plan, that answer would be an experienced lawyer who has assisted people with this task in the past. Every lawyer has a background in an area of law, and not all are familiar with estate planning specifically. Your lawyer can review your documents for errors and offer suggestions in your best interests. Your instructions in the estate plan must be clear, concise, and readable so that the chances of a dispute arising in the future are minimal. Estate planning is a great resource for people who want to protect the legacy they have built over their life, and want to ensure their assets are distributed to future generations of family, friends, or charity organizations.

When Should You Get an Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan is a vital step in safeguarding your assets, providing for your loved ones, and ensuring your wishes are carried out after your passing. While many individuals tend to postpone estate planning, it’s crucial to understand that it is never too early to start preparing for the future. By engaging in estate planning early on, you can gain peace of mind and be confident that your affairs are in order. This article aims to shed light on when you should consider getting an estate plan, emphasizing the importance of proactive planning.

  • Major Life Events: Significant life events often trigger the need for estate planning. These events include getting married, having children, purchasing property, starting a business, or receiving a substantial inheritance. Each of these milestones brings new responsibilities and assets that should be accounted for in your estate plan. By addressing these changes promptly, you can ensure that your loved ones are protected and your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
  • Age and Health: While age may not be the sole determining factor, it is generally advisable to start estate planning as soon as you become an adult. As life progresses, health concerns may arise, making it crucial to have an estate plan in place. Medical directives, powers of attorney, and long-term care provisions are essential elements to consider when contemplating your estate plan, particularly if you have specific wishes regarding your medical treatment or require assistance with decision-making due to declining health.
  • Financial Stability: If you have accumulated significant assets or have a complex financial situation, it is prudent to establish an estate plan. Whether it involves real estate, investments, retirement accounts, or valuable possessions, an estate plan will enable you to articulate how these assets should be managed and distributed after your passing. It can also help minimize taxes and maximize the value of your estate for future generations.
  • Business Ownership: If you own a business, proper estate planning is essential for its continuity and the protection of your family’s interests. It ensures a smooth transition of ownership, prevents conflicts among heirs, and provides for the financial security of your loved ones. An estate plan can outline who will manage or inherit your business and how its assets and obligations will be handled.
  • Changes in Legislation: Tax laws and regulations related to estate planning are subject to change over time. Staying informed about such changes and periodically reviewing your estate plan is crucial to ensure it remains up to date and aligned with current legal requirements. Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate any changes in legislation and make the necessary adjustments to your plan.

Estate planning is a vital task that should not be delayed. Whether you are young or older, have significant assets or not, engaging in estate planning allows you to protect your loved ones, preserve your assets, and maintain control over your future. By seeking the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can tailor your plan to your specific needs and ensure that it reflects your wishes. Remember, the best time to get an estate plan is now.

When Should An Estate Plan Be Updated

Developing an estate plan is a critical step; however, it doesn’t mean it can be set on the back burner and forgotten. Over time, estate plans can become out of date, and estate owners must regularly update their estate plans as life changes occur. Failure to do so can leave the estate plan outdated and, in some cases, lack the necessary details that must be included over time. Regardless of whether there have been any significant life-changing events, an estate plan should be reviewed with a lawyer at least every 3-5 years or; if any of the following have taken place: 

  • To update beneficiaries
  • The birth or adoption of children
  • To review the appointed estate executor
  • To review the appointed guardian
  • The purchase of property
  • Marriage or divorce
  • You have moved to another state
  • Inherited significant wealth
  • Had a change in financial circumstance

A person’s life is ever-changing, and because of this, an estate plan is reviewed and updated per the changes in their life. A Louisiana estate planning lawyer can assist in reviewing these documents and ensuring they still reflect your wishes.  

Louisiana Estate Planning Law Infographic

Louisiana Estate Planning LawyerWhen planning for the future, a lawyer can play an integral role, but it’s essential to choose a lawyer with experience in the estate planning process. With help from our firm, we will listen to your needs and provide guidance regarding the documentation needed to develop an estate plan and help outline your wishes by creating documents that make up an estate plan. Our team can help ensure that the estate plan keeps your interests in mind and is developed following state and federal laws. To learn more, contact our Theus Law Offices to schedule a consultation.

Louisiana Estate Planning Law Statistics

According to a 2022 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, 67% of Americans do not have an estate plan. This means that over 160 million adults in the US do not have a will, trust, or other estate planning documents.

Louisiana Estate Planning Law FAQs

A Louisiana estate planning lawyer will share with prospective clients that one of the most critical steps a person should take is to engage in the estate planning process. Estate planning is a crucial tool that is necessary for anyone in need of a plan for the next steps. Estate planning is a tool that allows the testator to clearly outline their wishes for a time when they are unable to make decisions on their own or in the event of their passing. While there are several components to estate planning, one essential tool is the living trust. A living trust offers several advantages. However, developing trust can be a complicated process that requires assistance from a professional like Theus Law Offices. Creating trust is a complex process; because of this, there will be several questions regarding the advantages, disadvantages, and the process as a whole. 

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of preparing and organizing one’s assets and affairs for the eventual distribution to beneficiaries after death. It involves creating a plan that ensures the smooth transfer of assets to heirs, minimizes taxes and administrative costs, and provides for the management of one’s affairs in the event of incapacity.

The process of estate planning typically involves the creation of several legal documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance directives. These documents help ensure that a person’s wishes are carried out after they pass away or become incapacitated.

Estate planning can be complex and requires careful consideration of a variety of factors, including the size and complexity of the estate, the needs and goals of the individual and their beneficiaries, and tax implications. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

Who is an appropriate candidate for an estate plan?

An estate plan is a process of developing a plan in advance for the future. While many believe that the estate plan is a solution only reserved for the wealthy, clearly outlining the future is imperative for most people. While a will may suffice in some cases, it’s important to note that the will is just one component of the estate plan. An estate plan not only plans for the distribution of assets but also outlines critical medical and financial decisions when a person is still living and unable to make decisions on their own or has passed away. 

What is a living trust, and how might a person benefit?

A living trust is an estate planning tool people create while they are still alive. While several types of trusts are available, a living trust allows a person to transfer their assets into the trust and remain in control of them while they are still alive. Typically, when a person passes away, the contents of the trust will be transferred to beneficiaries and managed by the successor trustee. There are several advantages to a living trust, including the following:

  • Adds a layer of privacy after a person passes away
  • Outlines a detailed plan for the future
  • Allows for specific instructions to be made
  • Reduced the number of assets that pass through probate
  • Outlines plans for while a person is still living
  • Offers peace of mind for the grantor and their families

What are common types of living trusts available?

As a Louisiana estate planning lawyer will share, two primary types of trusts are available, revocable and irrevocable. While a revocable trust can be modified throughout a person’s lifetime, typically once an irrevocable trust is created, there are few exceptions to updating it. A living trust can be either revocable or irrevocable and can take on many forms depending on the needs of the person developing the trust.

Is a living trust the best way to reduce the number of assets that may pass through probate?

Many assets may pass through the probate process when a person passes away. However, when assets are transferred out of a person’s ownership and into a trust, the assets within the trust can circumvent the number of assets that will pass through probate. 

Developing a living trust will require extensive planning and paperwork, and it will be necessary to have help from a legal professional with experience in this practice area. A living trust can allow the creator to outline their wishes privately and clearly. To learn more about our Louisiana estate planning lawyer from Theus Law Offices, contact our team to schedule a consultation.

If you are thinking about establishing an estate plan, you may want to consult a Louisiana estate planning lawyer from Theus Law Offices. Estate planning can be quite complex, so you want someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. A skilled lawyer can help you establish a proper estate plan that clearly states your wishes.

Who Needs Estate Planning?

It is still frequently assumed that estate planning is just for the wealthy. However, it turns out that estate planning is beneficial for people of all ages and income levels. Even younger people with modest assets should consider creating a proper estate plan. With an estate plan, you can decide how you want your property distributed, who will be the legal guardian of your minor children, and who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf. 

What Will Happen If I Do Not Have an Estate Plan?

If you die before having a proper estate plan in place, your assets will pass according to your state’s law of intestacy. In Louisiana, your community property will be distributed first to your spouse. Your spouse and children will receive part of your separate property. If you do not have a living spouse or children, your property may go to other relatives, like parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews. If you do not have any remaining relatives, the state may get your property.

How Can I Plan for My Pets?

If you have pets, you likely consider them members of your family. As such, a Louisiana estate planning lawyer may advise establishing a pet trust for them. In this estate planning document, you can set aside money for your pet’s care, including food and medical expenses, and appoint a caretaker. The person you choose to look after your pets should be financially stable, responsible, and compassionate. Having a plan for your pets can give you peace of mind.

Should I Leave Property Equally Among My Children?

The answer to this question highly depends on your individual situation. However, you are not obligated to give equal inheritances to your children. For example, if one child has more financial problems than your other children, you may choose to give the child a bigger inheritance. If you decide to go this route, you may want to have a conversation with your children ahead of time. Explain why you made the decision you did and be willing to answer all of their questions. If your children understand your reasoning, they may accept your decision better.

Why Choose an Attorney to Create Your Will or Trust?

There are many good reasons to choose an attorney to create your will or trust. An attorney can give you peace of mind by making sure that your documents are properly prepared and executed. An attorney can also answer any questions that you may have about the estate planning process. For example, a lawyer may help you decide whether or not to include life insurance proceeds in your estate plan, what the best age is for children to receive their inheritance, and more.

How Do You Choose an Attorney?

The process of choosing an estate planning lawyer can be a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you choose the right attorney for your needs.

You need to know what type of lawyer you need. If you have a complex financial situation, you’ll need a different type of lawyer than someone with a simple will.
You’ll want to make sure that the lawyer you choose is licensed in Louisiana. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to make sure that your lawyer is familiar with the laws of our state. You don’t want to hire a lawyer who is unfamiliar with how things work here and this could cause major problems down the line.
You should ask friends and family members if they’ve had any experience with attorneys in this area before making your decision. Talking to people who are knowledgeable about these types of lawyers can really help you narrow down your choices. In addition, I recommend finding out how much experience they have when it comes to working on estates as well as whether or not they specialize in wills or trusts specifically.
Do some research on various law firms that offer these services and find out which ones would best suit your individual needs and budget constraints so that you’re fully informed about all options available to you before making a final decision.

Can Any Lawyer Do Estate Planning?

No. Estate planning is a highly specialized field of law. Estate planning laws vary from state to state and can change frequently. That’s why it is essential to hire a lawyer who specializes in estate planning law. He or she will be able to better help you in drafting a valid estate plan and answering all of your questions.

If you need assistance with an estate plan, you should schedule a meeting with a Louisiana estate planning lawyer from Theus Law Offices soon. 

Contact Theus Law Offices Louisiana Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning is a crucial process that should not be overlooked. Regardless of the size or complexity of your estate, it is important to have a plan in place that provides for the smooth transfer of assets to your loved ones and ensures that your wishes are carried out. At Theus Law Offices, we understand the importance of estate planning and are dedicated to helping our clients create a comprehensive plan that meets their unique needs and goals.

As a Louisiana Estate Planning Lawyer, we have extensive experience in all areas of estate planning, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance directives. We have helped countless individuals and families protect their assets and achieve their estate planning goals, and we are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of service and support. If you are in need of estate planning services, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve peace of mind and protect your legacy for future generations.

At Theus Law Offices, we have extensive experience in all areas of estate planning, and we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals and protect their assets for future generations. We can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that provides peace of mind and ensures that your wishes are carried out.