Estate planning lawyer Monroe

One Ceremony Saves Monroe, Louisiana Family $2 Million of Federal Estate Tax

I am working to set up an estate planning program for a really nice couple from Monroe, Louisiana. They had four main concerns, and one of them was making sure they avoided whatever taxes they could avoid as they have an estate plan which transitions their assets to the next generation after both of them die.

Although unusual, the couple mentioned that they were not married. All of the assets were in the gentleman's name because there were some lawsuit scares for the woman many years ago - but all of those lawsuit scares are behind them.

The gentleman had an estate that was in excess of the $5.45 million estate tax exemption. The woman had almost nothing. When they brought up the fact that they were not married, I gave them some advice regarding future estate tax that their heirs will be burdened with. I said, "You know, because you are not married and because all of the assets are owned by only one of you, then you will only be able to exempt $5.45 million from the 40% federal estate tax. But if you get married, and you have the right legal program in place, and you make the right tax elections after one of you dies, you will be able to exempt $10.9 million of assets from the 40% federal estate tax."

By the time they had left my office, they had already scheduled their wedding plans.

The estate tax laws can be more favorable to married couples than to two single individuals, due to the federal estate tax unlimited marital deduction and the portability election. I'm not crazy about having estate tax laws dictate whether a couple should get married, but if simply by tying the knot a couple or a family can save as much as $2,000,000 of estate tax, it may be worth it if you're getting married for the right reasons - not just tax planning.

If you live in Louisiana, whether in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Metairie, Monroe, Shreveport, Lake Charles, or Covington/Mandeville, and you want to have an estate planning legal program in place that will avoid federal estate tax and make it easy for the right heirs to inherit the right way, give us a call at 866-491-3884, and we'll start a conversation about how simple and important it is to have the right estate legal plan in place to protect your estate for your heirs and from the IRS and other taxing authorities.

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