Estate planning lawyer 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
Phone: (225) 329-2450

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.