Can Person With Usufruct Make Improvements and Alterations to Property?

This explains whether someone who has the Louisiana usufruct has the right to make improvements or alterations to property.

Let's say, for example, that Husband and Wife entered into marriage later in life as a blended family. They each have their own kids. They decide to move into Wife's home. Wife doesn't want husband kicked out of her home (by her kids) if she dies before him. So she writes a Will and leave Husband the lifetime usufruct of the home. Wife later dies. Succession gets completed. Husband has usufruct, and is living in, the home. Wife's children are the naked owners.

Now Husband wants to make some improvements to the home (mancave, outdoor kitchen, hot tub, etc.). Can he do it? 

Louisiana law says that, in this instance, Husband can make improvements and alterations AT HIS COST AND WITH THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE NAKED OWNER. If the naked owners don't give consent, Husband may, AFTER NOTICE TO THE NAKED OWNERS AND WITH APPROVAL OF THE COURT, MAKE AT HIS COST THOSE IMPROVEMENTS AND ALTERATIONS THAT A PRUDENT ADMINISTRATOR WOULD MAKE.

In most cases, parties in these situations don't think to seek out what the rules are and to see if they are in compliance with the rules. They tend to just do what they want because they thing they can. Then, the naked owners start to scream at the usufructuary, and all hell breaks loose.

Better, in these cases, to ask first for permission, rather than to act first and ask for forgiveness later.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.

Paul Rabalais
Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
www.RabalaisEstatePlanning.com
Phone: (225) 329-2450