I am currently working with a woman from Baton Rouge. One of her children lives in New Orleans and the other lives in Washington. One of her friends mentioned my name to her so she came in to get all of her estate matters settled. She mentioned that her main concern was she wanted to make things easy for her children when she dies - she does not want them to have to pay lots of taxes or go through a bunch of bureaucratic red tape in order to inherit her assets.
Her biggest concern was the family farm which she owned in state outside of Louisiana. She told me that her husband had passed away a few years earlier. I asked her if she had completed the Succession of her husband after he died a few years ago. She said she had not.
I knew the first order of business for her was to complete her husband's Succession. I told her that her home could never be sold until her husband's Louisiana Succession was complete. I told her that the home was still titled in the name of both her and her husband, and the Succession would involved us preparing the necessary court pleadings, having all the court documents signed by her and her children, and then filing all of the court documents at the courthouse and asking a judge to sign the necessary court orders ordering that the home be transferred out of her husband's name and into the names of the wife and their children.
She had pulled out what she thought was his last will and testament. It was dated in 1970 but it did not have the necessary signatures on the document, so it was invalid. We are forced to treat the husband's Succession as if he had no Will - intestate. We discussed how she would continue owning her half of their home, and that under the intestate laws, she would inherit the usufruct of her husband's half of the home, and their children would be named the "naked owners" of her husband's half of the home.
Because she wants to make things as easy as she can for her children, she is setting up her own estate legal program so that her children will avoid probate in two different states when she dies. Had she not set things up this way, her children would have been forced to go through both the Louisiana probate after she dies, and also another probate in the state where her farm property is located.
We also discussed her potential nursing home situation. She is fairly convinced that she will never reside in a nursing home, because neither she nor her children want her to be in a nursing home. She has a few dollars that will help her get private care in her home if she needs it. But, like she said, just in case, we titled her property in the right kind of trust so that if she goes into the nursing home in the future, she will not be forced to spend her money and sell the farm to pay for nursing home costs.
It's always rewarding to work with someone who knows that their affairs are in a mess, and work with them so that they have peace of mind to know that everything is in order and matters will be easy for their surviving family members. If you want that feeling that things are all in order, give us a call at 866-491-3884