We are often asked about which assets should Louisiana residents put in their "Avoid Probate" Living Trust. This is important because if you don't title the right assets into your trust correctly, your survivors will be required to hire lawyers and go through the court-supervised process when you die to get those assets that were not in your trust, in your trust.
This is a very general overview regarding which assets should go in your trust. If you want your family to avoid probate, you should work with our office to set up the appropriate estate legal plan that accomplishes your objectives. We will work with you, asset by asset, to make sure your assets are titled in a way to ensure a smooth transition to your survivors.
Here's the basics:
Your real estate should go in your trust. Be careful to transfer your home to your trust in a way that you preserve your property tax homestead exemption. You should also transfer your undivided interests in real estate (immovable property) and your out of state real estate. Transferring your out of state real estate to your trust will avoid the ancillary probate proceeding in that state when you die.
Investments. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments that are not held in your IRA or other qualified retirement account should go in your trust.
Small Business Interests. If you own a membership interest in a limited liability company (LLC), you should transfer your LLC membership interest into your trust.
Bank accounts. Check with your estate attorney and your financial institution regarding whether your bank accounts should be titled in your trust name, or whether you can take advantage of an alternative way to enable your bank and credit union accounts to pass to your survivors outside of probate.
Vehicles. Check with your attorney regarding Office of Motor Vehicles rules which may permit you to keep your car titled in your name but still avoid probate when you die.
Assets that typically are not transferred to your trust during your lifetime are IRAs and other Qualified Plans, Annuities, and life insurance. These accounts, by their nature, avoid probate because you are permitted to designate beneficiaries to receive the assets outside of probate when you die.
Give us a call at 866-491-3884 to start a discussion about how you can arrange your legal affairs to simplify the transition of what you've accumulated to your loved ones and survivors.