Estate planning Baton Rouge

Three Aspects To Maintaining Your Living Trust Based Estate Plan

Once you sign your Revocable Living Trust and other ancillary estate planning documents, you should feel peace of mind with knowing that  you've taken steps to protect yourself and your family. However, you cannot set it and forget it. There's some work left to do.

The following are three aspects to maintaining your trust-based estate legal program. 

(1) Trust Funding. As far as avoiding probate is concerned, your trust is only fully effective at helping you avoid probate to the extent that your probate assets are titled in the name of your trust when you die. When you sign your trust, or immediately thereafter, is the best time to title assets in your trust name. You will sign documents transferring your real estate to your trust, and you will work with your financial institutions to make sure that your investments are titled correctly.

(2) Life Changes. You should review your estate program when you have a major change to your life circumstances, such as, divorce, have children, remarriage, enter a blended family, death of a beneficiary, agent, or trustee, you move to another state permanently, you inherit a significant amount, or you change your mind regarding who will inherit or who will be in charge of your estate.

(3) Law changes. Not every law change requires that you revisit your estate planning program. However, recent changes to our federal gift and estate tax system has caused people to structure their estate planning legal program with less emphasis on estate tax avoidance, and more emphasis on capital gains tax avoidance, income tax avoidance, and long term care Medicaid eligibility.

Again, congratulations are in order for taking steps to put an estate legal program in place. But make sure that you complete it in both the short term and the long term by funding your trust the right way, and revisiting your plan in the event of significant life or law changes.

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

Estate Planning For Parents With Minor Kids

The following is an overview of what will happen when Louisiana parents of minor children pass away, and what they can do to protect themselves, their children, and their assets.

It is not often when parents with minor children pass away, but when it does, it can be a legal nightmare. If the parents have no legal program in place, then typically other family members must scramble to hire lawyers, petition courts to appoint guardians (known in Louisiana as "tutors") for the minor children, and deal with frozen accounts and other frozen assets. If multiple people want to raise kids, then there will likely be a multi-year court battle where it will ultimately be up to a judge to determine who has the parental rights over your kids.

And then, if the parents with minor children had no legal program in place, a judge must oversee and approve every expenditure of your estate for your kids until they are 18 (the age of majority in Louisiana), and then, on your child's 18th birthday, a pile of money will be dumped in their lap with no supervision. 

Parents with minor children can avoid these concerns by putting the right legal programs in place. Parents can designate who will raise their children, handle the children's inheritance, and the parents can prolong when the children can get their hands on the inheritance. Parents can even arrange their legal affairs to keep everything out of the courts and give the right people immediate access after death to accounts so there is little disruption to children's financial needs.

All parents with minor kids need to have all of the "incapacity legal plans" in place, so that if the parents become incapacitated (due to illness, injury, or otherwise), other trusted family or friends can immediately step in to make important financial or medicaid decisions for you.

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