I started working yesterday with a married couple from Shreveport last week. They stated that their main estate planning concerns were:
- They wanted to avoid the surviving spouse and their children to avoid probate when they die. They had been involved in a difficult probate in the past;
- They wanted to make sure that property that had been in the husband's family would remain in their family for their children and grandchildren; and
- They wanted to stay in complete control of their "money" but they wanted to make sure that their home and the husband's family property was protected from nursing home costs.
They talked at length about how two of their four children spend a significant amount of their time on the husband's family property - hunting on part of it, fishing on part of it, and enjoying the outdoors. The other two children did not use the property much but those two children would enjoy getting their share of the mineral rights from the property after both the husband and wife pass away.
They also talked about how one of their daughters was very organized, and responsible, and had really good business sense. The couple decided that this daughter would be the one designated as the Successor Trustee to handle transfers of assets equally to the four children after husband and wife die.
So, the end result is that we are establishing to trusts for their family. the first trust is arranged to protect the value of their home and the husband's separate property from any possible future nursing home costs. The husband asked, and I assured him, that his family property would retain its separate property status in the trust. Assets in this trust will avoid probate when they die. We also set up a second trust to hold their investments. The couple will remain in complete control of these accounts while they are alive and spend the funds as they wish. These accounts will never be frozen when they die because they are trust accounts. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse will stay in control. After both spouses die, their daughter (the Successor Trustee) will have instant access to divide these accounts equally among the children, outside of probate.
If you live in Louisiana and would like to have an estate legal program in place to protect yourself and your family from nursing home costs and probate, click here to watch a 23 minute video where I explain - precisely - in layman's terms - what you need to do to protect your family.