Estate planning attorney Shreveport

Why To Promptly Complete Succession After Death of Loved One

I was consulted on a Louisiana Succession matter today from a Houma, Louisiana family. Mom passed away about two years ago and her Succession was never complete. After Mom died, the family thought, "There's no need to complete a Succession after Mom's death because Dad has no plans to sell the house or other real estate or stock, and he already has access to their joint bank accounts."

The problem that occurred was that after Mom died and before her Succession was complete, two of Mom's heirs passed away. These two heirs each had several heirs. Now, completing Mom's probate in Louisiana will be a nightmare. There are several personalities that are now involved that would not have been involved had the Succession promptly been complete shortly after Mom died.

Some Louisiana families mistakenly believe that if they ignore the necessity to complete a Louisiana Succession long enough, then the requirement to complete the Succession will go away - but there is nothing further from the truth. In fact, the longer a family waits to complete a Louisiana Succession after the death of a family member who owned property, the harder it will be to complete it later as more personalities get involved - all of whom must be parties to this court-supervised probate proceeding.

If you have an interest in completing a Louisiana Succession so that property or investments can be properly re-titled after the death of a loved one or family member, and you'd like to talk to us about retaining us to complete the probate matter, give us a call and we can have a conversation about how easy it is to complete these court proceedings in a way that is efficient and keeps family relationships prospering.

Shreveport Gentleman Asks Great Question About Leaving Home For Wife

I was working with a Shreveport couple recently helping them set up their estate legal program. One of their three children lived in Shreveport. Another lived in Monroe. The youngest lived in Alexandria, Louisiana. All three of their children were married and some of those spouse exercised a lot of influence over their spouse.

The husband asked a question that we get quite often. It goes something like this, "How can I make sure that when I die, if my wife wants to sell our home, that she does not have to get the permission of our children to sell the home?

Well, the most popular ways to do this are as follows:

  1. Will Home Outright to Wife. The husband can have a Last Will and Testament and bequeath the Shreveport home outright to his wife. After he dies, the wife will have to complete the husband's Succession/Probate with any of the other heirs before she would be permitted to sell the home.
  2. Will Usufruct of Home With Authority To Dispose. This one can be tricky. The husband can write a Last Will leaving the usufruct of the Shreveport home to his wife. But that is not enough for her to freely be able to sell it after he dies. In the husband's Last Will, he will name the naked owners of the home, but he must provide (this is where it gets a little complicated) that the naked ownership interests are held in trust with the surviving wife as the trustee. It also helps if in his bequest of usufruct, he also grants her the "authority to dispose of nonconsumables." A Louisiana Succession will still be necessary after he dies to remove the property from the Husband's name.
  3. Put Home In Trust. He can put his home in a trust and designate that his surviving wife is the trustee of the trust after he dies. This may be the simplest way accomplish the husband's wishes. After the husband dies, a Louisiana Succession is not necessary to re-title property in trust. The home will simply remain in the trust after the husband dies, and the wife will immediately be able to sell the home without having to seek the permission of any of the children.

Whether you live in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Lafayette, or any other Louisiana town or city. you can arrange your estate legal program so that your spouse will not have difficulty after you die if your surviving spouse wants to sell the home or other property. When a surviving spouse is forced to get the permission of all of the children (and indirectly that often means the spouses of the children chime in) it can often create irreparable family conflict which never improves.

Give our Louisiana statewide telephone number (866-491-3884) a call if this makes sense to you and you'd like your estate to be handled the easy and right way when you die. I look forward to the opportunity to have a conversation with you about your estate planning goals and how we might be able to help you accomplish them.

Paul Rabalais



Shreveport Couple Wants Estate Plan To Protect Home and Husband's Separate Property From Probate AND Nursing Home Costs

I started working yesterday with a married couple from Shreveport last week. They stated that their main estate planning concerns were:

  1. 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;
  2. 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
  3. 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.