While I've met with thousands of estate planning clients over the years as I've served as the Louisiana estate planning attorney for many Louisiana residents, I've heard many unique statements from my fantastic clients who took the time and effort to attempt to protect what they worked for and pass it along to their cherished loved ones.
But I heard a statement recently from a woman, and that statement stuck out in my mind. It wasn't a statement that was unique or unusual, but for some reason, every day I think of this woman and why she said what she said.
Her statement was, "I just want to leave my children an inheritance, and I want to make it easy for them." A very simple statement but also very profound.
When I heard her make this statement, I thought to myself, "Why did she just say that? And why did she choose those words?"
Upon further discussion, we realized that she, in the past, had family members who had entered a nursing home and were forced into the "spend-down game" prior to qualifying for long term care Medicaid. The woman had a "few hundred thousand dollars" of savings and she lived alone. She felt like her kids would care for her if necessary, but like she said, "you just never know what the future holds and I want my assets protected if I have to live in one of those god-awful nursing homes."
So, the thought process behind, "I just want to leave my kids an inheritance," could be translated to, "I don't want a long term illness, or taxes for that matter, to deplete my estate so that my kids would be left with nothing when I pass on."
But, as you may recall, she made another statement. She also stated, "I want to make it easy for them." You can break this statement, technically, down into two sub-statements. First, she could have said, "If, during some point during the rest of my lifetime, I get to a condition where I can't sign my name, make rational decisions, take myself to the doctor, understand my treatment decisions, or just can't care for myself, I don't want my kids to have to sue me in an interdiction proceeding in an attempt to have me declared incapacitated, and then have a judge appoint a legal guardian (curator) for my. I want to make it easy for my daughter to do everything for me."
And then the second sub-statement could be interpreted as, "When I leave this life, I don't want all of my assets frozen in a way that my kids can't access them, forcing them to hire lawyers to go through our judicial system just to gain access to what I leave behind."
Again, such a simple statement, "I want to leave them an inheritance and make it easy." But in today's world, you have to be pro-active and take the necessary initiative to give yourself and your children a fighting chance to protect and stay in control of everything you have worked for.
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Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (225) 329-2450