Estate Planning Metairie

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
Law Office locations: All over south Louisiana
Toll-free phone: 866-491-3884

Husband Wants Simple Estate Settlement For Wife and Kids

Was working with a couple recently who lived in Metairie and they wanted an estate legal program that would make things easy and efficient for their family. Specifically, the husband, who handled all of the finances and the investments, wanted to make it as easy as possible for his surviving wife should he die first. They also wanted to make it easy for their daughter, who lives out of state, to be able to access and distribute the investments to their surviving family members in the proper proportions.

After we finished discussing the particulars of their estate legal program, the husband asked if we could talk through each of their assets so that he and his wife would know what would have to take place after he passed away.

First, we discussed their home. I explained that since their home was in their revocable living trust, his wife would not have to lift a finger after he passed away. The wife will be the sole trustee and instantly have the authorization to sell the home if she wishes without having to go through lawyers and court proceedings.

Then he asked about what his wife would have to do to access his varied investment holdings. Again, I said, "Your wife will continue to have access to all of your investments that are titled in the name of your trust - so no problems there."

Then he asked about what would happen to his vehicles. I told him that his wife, after he dies, will be able to take a copy of our paperwork and his death certificate to the Office of Motor Vehicles after he dies and the vehicles he owns will all be put into her name - no judges or court proceedings necessary.

Her point was, "This sounds really easy." They had comfort knowing they were arranging their legal affairs so that the surviving spouse would have complete and continued access after one spouse dies, and that their daughter will also have immediate access to make distribution to the daughter and other trust beneficiaries after both the husband and wife pass away.