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Wills & Estates

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you remove the uncertainty around succession

estate lawyers in New Iberia la lawyers near me

 

A will or trust removes the uncertainty of how your assets and debts will be distributed, and allows you to be in control. This is where an experienced Family Planning Attorney can help.

When someone dies, a will sometimes — but not always — must be probated in court. In Louisiana, this is called  a “succession,” and it ensures that your wishes are carried out. Getting sound legal advice on the succession process can ease your and your family’s minds during a difficult period.

The legal system can sometimes seem tricky and getting real answers is hard.  Our law office can help you by explaining your options and helping you to meet your goals.

In addition to a will, a trust offers further protection and advantages in many situations, particularly where:

  • Significant assets are involved
  • There are disabled children or spouses who have special medical needs
  • There are minor children who are not able or ready to manage their own finances
  • There are adult children who, for many reasons, cannot manage their own finances

In Louisiana, many types of trusts are available, including living trusts, revocable trusts, special needs trusts and spendthrift trusts. Whether you need a will, trust, or both, we will tailor these estate planning tools to meet your individual goals and needs.


WHY DO I NEED A WILL?


Do I need a will? Or don’t I need a will? Well, the answer is simple. Everybody should have a will. A will can take care of many difficult times upon your passing. That way, everyone knows where everything goes in the event of your passing. You can name an executor, who will handle your estate if something happens to you. You can provide that the executor does not have to post any type of security or bond. You wouldn’t want your wife to have to go buy a bond from an insurance company to be able to handle your estate. You can provide that your executor serve without bond or other security. You can also delineate certain things. For instance, if you want your oldest son to have a certain rifle or shotgun or if you want your daughter to have your wife’s wedding and engagement ring, you can make specific bequests to different children or different charities. You may want to leave a bequest to your favorite church or to the SPCA or any other non-profit. You can plan for that, and do it, by using a will. There are many good reasons to have a will. And no good reasons to not have a will. No matter how large or how small your estate is, you control what happens upon your passing, not the State of Louisiana or the federal government.


HOW DO I PLAN MY ESTATE?


Planning your estate is not as complicated as some people might think. You need to see an attorney to prepare your last will and testament. In certain cases, you may or may not need to pay any estate taxes. In Louisiana, there are no estate taxes. The federal government has estate taxes, but at this time, the exemption is very high, and only if you have a multi-million dollar estate, over 5 million dollars, will you be required to pay and federal taxes at all. But, you need to talk to an attorney, plan your estate, and set up trust accounts for different children. If you have a child that is disabled and want to protect that child, you can prepare a trust and name trustees to care for that child, if something would happen to you. If you are young, you still need a will! Suppose you are thirty years old and have children that are four and five years old, what happens to your children if something happens to you? You can name somebody to care for your children, you can create a trust so that they will have the financial resources to provide for your children.


WHY DO I NEED A TRUST FUND?


If you are concerned about your estate, one of the things you may consider is a trust fund, or a trust. You can set up a trust and leave certain things to the trustees in the trust. If you want to provide for your children and make sure they don’t get a lump sum settlement they can spend in a week, a trust may be the way to go. For instance, if your children are 10, 12, 15 years old, you leave certain things to trustees of the trust to the children. The trustees are given certain powers and you can enumerate specific powers or you can say they have whatever powers are allowed by the Louisiana trust code. For instance, you can say: “I give to John, trustee of the Mary trust, the following:” and name certain things. and say, “The trustee’s powers are enumerated as follows: he provides a home for Mary, he provides food and clothing for Mary, he provides for Mary’s education.” And the trust can terminate. When Mary turns the age of 21, she gets 50% of the trust. When she reaches the age of 25, she gets the remainder of the trust, so she doesn’t get everything at one time and has an opportunity to spend it irresponsibly. If you are considering making a will, you may want to consider setting up a trust for children, especially if they are under 25 years of age, so they can be protected and your estate can be protected from unscrupulous persons who may take advantage of your children. You’ll have a trustee who can prevent that and provide for your children into the future.


HOW DO I PLAN FOR AN UNTIMELY DEATH?


Have you given any consideration as to what happens if you should meet an untimely death? What happens to your estate? No matter how big or how small your estate is, you should have a will. Either you decide what happens to your belongings, or the State of Louisiana does. If you are like us, we would prefer to decide where our estate goes than have the state tell us where it goes. At Haik, Minvielle & Grubbs, we can help you make those determinations. You should also consider having a living will. What happens if you are brain dead, but they can keep you alive artificially for an extended period of time. Do you want that burden on your family? Or do you want to provide that if you have been certified dead, that the doctor can unplug you? You should also consider having a power of attorney. What happens if you’re in an accident and your wife needs to take certain steps and certain actions legally and she can’t do it? She should have the power of attorney to do that for you. You should also have a medical power of attorney. If you are hospitalized and can not make medical decisions, who do you want to make those medical decisions? A doctor, or your loved one? We would choose our loved one. So if you are considering taking care of your estate, you need to contact us at Haik, Minvielle & Grubbs. We have the ability to help you plan your estate, to get the necessary legal documentation in place in the unfortunate event of an accident or your death.


WHAT IS A SUCCESSION?


Succession is the legal process of opening and administering an estate after a person dies. If there is a will, the process of probating the will transfers ownership of assets and real property to persons named in the will as beneficiaries and heirs. If there is no will, opening a succession also transfers ownership of assets and real property according to rights of succession established by Louisiana law.

When you contact our law firm for help in estate planning, our attorneys will help you with all the administrative aspects including:

  • Identifying and accessing assets and debts, including bank accounts
  • Transferring title to real and personal property
  • Handling outstanding debts such as final medical expenses, funeral expenses and taxes
  • Putting heirs and beneficiaries into lawful possession of the assets that they have inherited
  • Filing any accounting required by law
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