Estate Planning Louisiana

Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC - Baton Rouge Office Location

Directions to the Baton Rouge office location of Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC:

We are in the Perkins Business Parc, on Perkins between Essen Lane and College Drive. We are across the street from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Our office complex has a sign on Perkins Road - the name on the sign says "Perkins Business Park. The address is 6421 Perkins Road. We are in Building C.

When you turn into the Perkins Business Park, our building is the first building to the right. It is Building C. When you walk into the glass door entrance to Building C, you will take the elevator to the 2nd Floor to enter our office. We look forward to seeing you there.

4 Estate Planning Tips For 2018

2018 brings some changes to the estate planning horizon. The following are four tips that you can take advantage of to protect your estate in 2018.

(1) Taxes. With the new law changes, there will be less emphasis on gift and estate tax avoidance, and more emphasis on capital gains tax and income tax avoidance. Smart married planners will ensure that their estate gets the valuable "double step-up in basis" (doesn't happen automatically), while other smart planners will arrange their affairs so that they and their heirs and beneficiaries minimize the income tax burden of a transfer of retirement accounts and other valuable assets.

(2) You're Living Longer. Because you are living longer, you need to protect your estate if you get sick for a prolonged period, or, if your mind becomes demented. Arranging all of your assets so that your trusted loved ones have access when you can't, and, for some, protecting your estate from nursing home poverty, is critical. To protect your estate from when you are sick, you must take action while you are well.

(3) Simplify Your Estate Settlement. Many Louisiana families want to arrange their estate so that judicially-supervised court proceeding (some call it "Probate;" other Louisianians call it "Succession"). Whether it's utilizing a revocable living trust or other probate avoidance strategies, act in 2018 to make estate settlement simple. In addition, have conversations with participants in your estate settlement - before your estate settlement. This can go a long way toward having an amicable estate settlement.

(4) Get Started. Procrastination is a big obstacle to estate planning. Put it on your "To Do" list, and then get started so you can check it off your "To Do" list. You'll feel great knowing you have all your legal affairs in order for yourself and your family.

Happy New Year! Make 2018 your best ever.

Paul Rabalais
www.RabalaisEstatePlanning.com
Law Office locations: All over south Louisiana
Toll-free phone: 866-491-3884

Nine Elements of a Louisiana "Avoid Probate" Estate Legal Program

Many seniors in Louisiana express a desire that their family and loved ones avoid the court-supervised probate process when they die. Because every family is unique and each person or couple owns different types of assets, it's important that they have a foundation for their Program. The following is a description of nine different elements of the Louisiana "Avoid Probate" Estate Legal Program.

(1) Revocable Living Trust. Their Revocable Living Trust ("RLT") is the foundation of their program. This is the customized legal instrument where you state who is in charge of your trust when become incapable or when you die, who will inherit or receive distributions from your trust after you die, and it will also state the rights and obligations of all of the parties that are involved. Your RLT really replaces the traditional "Last Will and Testament." The disposition of your trust assets are controlled by your trust instrument, not your Last Will and Testament.

(2) Pour-Over Last Will and Testament. If you happen to own any assets in your name when you die, and the title of which becomes frozen when you die because they are in your name, your Pour-Over Will is necessary. The executor of the WIll, after your death, will hire an attorney and go through the court-supervised Succession procedure to have those assets in your name transferred to your trust. Note that many people who set up an "Avoid Probate" Legal Program never need to utilize the Last Will because all assets will be titled in a way making the Succession unnecessary. "Funding" your trust (or re-titling your assets) is a critical step in the process so that nothing is left in your name when you die that would require a judicial proceeding.

(3) Durable Power of Attorney. This can also be referred to as Financial Power of Attorney, General Power of Attorney, or POA. An example of when this may be needed is when you are incapacitated and there is an IRA in your name and you are unable to transact the IRA due to your incapacity. Your POA should enable your "Agent" to act on your behalf at the financial institution where the IRA is held.

(4) Health Care Power of Attorney. Also called a Medicaid Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy. This will enable your trusted family member or friend ("Agent") to talk to doctors and access your medical records in the event you are unable to do this yourself.

(5) Living Will Declarations. This is the legal instrument where you make your wishes known regardling life support machines. People who execute Living Wills typically want to relieve their family from the burden of making an end of life decision by putting their wishes on paper, in advance.

(6) Asset Transfers. All of your funding and re-titling documents should be organized in the Asset Transfers portion of your Estate Legal Program. This is where transfers of real estate, investments, and business interests are documented.

(7) Burial and Funeral Wishes. Part of completing your Estate Legal Program may involve informal documentation of your wishes regarding certain aspects of your passing, such as your burial and funeral wishes. 

(8) Distribution of Personal Effects. Some people provide for the distribution of their non-titled personal effects (jewelry, furniture, guns, etc.) in their formal legal documents. Others take a simpler approach and make an informal list of how they want their personal effects disbursed. Check with your attorney regarding the best way to provide for the distribution of your personal effects.

(9) Trustee Education. Since the establishing of an estate legal program may be new to you, your attorney should provide both you and your Successor Trustee(s) with education and instructions as to how to best serve as a Trustee of Co-Trustee. 

While every client is different, with different needs, this should give you a pretty good example of what the typical estate planning program consists of. Now go take care of business!

Paul Rabalais
www.RabalaisEstatePlanning
Law Offices: All over South Louisiana
Phone: 866-491-3884

How To Avoid Income Tax on IRA Distributions After You Die

Let's face it. many people HATE paying tax. And many people hate paying income tax when distributions are made from their IRA.

I was working with a gentleman from Covington, Louisiana today on his estate plan. He owned property in St. Tammany Parish and in Tangipahoa Parish. He had never been married and he never had children.

He wanted to leave some things and some money to a family member of his, but he liked the idea of setting up some scholarship funds. So, after quite a bit of discussion, he decided to name his college as the beneficiary of part of his IRA when he died. But he did not want the funds from his IRA to go into the general funds of the college. So, we are restricting the IRA so that it can only be used in a certain curriculum of the university. Now, he knows that students in his prior field will benefit from scholarships that he establishes.

He also knows that none of his IRA will go the federal government or the State of Louisiana (or any other state for that matter). By naming his college as the beneficiary of his IRA, even if the money can be used for certain restricted purposes, the distributions after his death to the college will go income-tax free.

If you are leaving some assets to individuals when you die, and other assets to charities or educational institutions, you may want to consider leaving all or part of your IRA to the charities. Charities don't pay income tax when they are the beneficiary of an IRA. Leave your non-IRA assets to individuals - there will be no income tax consequence to those individuals.

If you live in Louisiana and you want to set up an estate legal program that makes sure that you leave assets where you intent them to go, and it is all set up in a tax-efficient or tax avoidance manner, give us a call at 866-491-3884 to talk to one of our estate planning attorneys.

Divorced Monroe Father Now Has Children's Inheritance Protected From Ex-Wife

I'm working with a gentleman who lives in Monroe, Louisiana. He is divorced. He has three children - two are in their early 20's, and one is a teen-ager. He is not fond of his ex-wife - she took him to the cleaners in the divorce. He has a "significant other" that he may marry someday but no time soon. He stated that his main estate planning worries were:

  • He wanted to make sure his ex-wife did not control his money and his business interests if he died;
  • He wanted to make sure his children's inheritance would not be "blown," rather, he wanted to make sure his children would benefit for their lifetimes from the legacy he leaves them; and
  • He did not want his ex-wife, his "significant other," and his children to have to go through a probate proceeding in the courts after he died.

He owned a nice home in Monroe, and he wanted to make sure that his "significant other" (whether he married her or not) would have a right to continue living in the home for as long as she wanted to after he died.

He knew that if he had no estate legal plan in place, that his ex-wife would control his teen-age daughter's inheritance, which means she would also have indirect control over the adult children's inheritance because the three children would be inheriting together and co-owning assets.

So we are establishing a trust so that when he dies, his business partner (as the Successor Trustee) can manage his estate for the three children and dole it out to them at different stages in their lives. The children will not get a large inheritance in a lump sum, and will not have an opportunity to "blow it all" with one big mistake. Setting things up this way will keep the ex-wife out of this father's financial affairs when he dies. The family will avoid what would have been an ugly probate proceeding with each party being represented by different bulldog attorneys (further draining estate assets), and the father can rest assured knowing that his significant other will be protected with a home, and his children's inheritance will be protected.

If you are divorced and you want to make sure that your ex-spouse does not control all of your money when you die, you may want to give me a call at 866-491-3884 to start a simple conversation about how easy it is to put an estate legal program in place, whether you live in Monroe, Shreveport, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lake Charles, Lafayette, or Baton Rouge.