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Making The Complex Understandable

Louisiana Legal Blog

Laws to keep Louisiana elderly safe from abuse

Seniors are among the most vulnerable segment of society. Many Louisiana seniors have fallen victim to elder abuse in a number of ways, including financially, physically and emotionally. In fact, the National Council on Aging indicates at least 10% of adults 60 years of age or older in the country have suffered some form of elder abuse. The issue has become a global social one.

The United States enacted the Elder Justice Act in 2010 with federal funding aimed at preventing, detecting, treating, understanding and intervening in elder abuse cases. It also paves the way for prosecuting those who abuse, neglect and exploit seniors. This law was instated to try to keep elders safe from abuse at the hands of caregivers, scam artists and even from some family members. 

Keeping divorce out of the office setting

Divorce may impact many areas of life and that can include professional life. Some Louisiana professionals may find that their divorce might affect their daily routines in the office, so having some information about how to minimize the impact may make the work environment a little less exasperating during this time. It is possible to stay on task at the office while going through a divorce.

Having a network outside the office may help when actually at the office. Talking about one's divorce may not be wise within an office setting. Keeping personal situations personal may be the best route to go. It is also best when divorcing spouses can come to an agreement on important aspects of their lives since court appearances take time away from the office and might affect productivity. Litigation is never the best route for either individual. 

Avoid sibling disputes with proper estate planning

Sibling disputes are common when looking at issues that occur after a parent has passed away. The good news about these disputes is that they can be avoided with some foresight by the parent or parents who are creating the estate plan.

Most parents have an idea about how their children will act following their death. However, if you're not sure about your children or want to make sure one child doesn't cause a problem for the others, then you will want to take steps to protect their interests and your estate ahead of time.

Avoiding estate planning mistakes in Louisiana

Making the decision to write an estate plan is a wise one. However, Louisiana residents who have made that decision would be well-advised of a few potential faux pas to steer clear of when in the throes of estate planning. No one likes to plan for his or her demise, but to minimize the impact on family members, doing it the right way is crucial.

One of the most prevalent mistakes when writing an estate plan is not including enough information. Leaving scant instructions can not only be problematic for an executor, but could cause loved ones extra grief. Writing a complete plan is important and so is leaving directions on where to find important documents and how to access them, especially if some assets are digital and password-protected.

Are divorce rates higher for couples with a special needs child?

Most parents love their children without conditions. Louisiana couples with special needs children -- whatever those needs may be -- may have increased stressful events that challenge them. It may also challenge the relationship they have as a couple and experts have wondered whether having a special needs child increases the odds that a couple may ultimately face divorce. 

The results of a 50-year study were recently made public and showed that couples who had special needs children weren't, in fact, more likely to divorce -- a finding that surprised some experts. It did show, however, that in smaller families, that rate was slightly higher -- 2% higher to be exact. Oddly, couples with many children -- but none who had special needs -- the divorce rate was higher. The study suggested that perhaps couples with a special needs child who had other children, might have had an easier time to manage day to day with the increased help and support of their children.

How to minimize taxes without the deduction for alimony

Prior to this year, financial planning during divorce was fueled by the alimony deduction. That all changed for divorces finalized after 2018 with new laws prohibiting payors of alimony -- including those in Louisiana -- from deducting those payments on their tax returns at the federal level. Essentially, this means, although the person paying alimony will owe more taxes, he or she may pay less alimony, while the payee won't be taxed on those payments but may receive less in support payments, and there are still ways to minimize taxes.

The question is, then, what strategies could be used to mimic the tax benefits prior to new legislation being enacted? For instance, alimony could be funded with retirement accounts by transferring funds at values that are pre-tax. An irrevocable charitable remainder trust might also be beneficial in that it pays taxable income to a beneficiary with the remainder of funds going to charity. 

Hidden assets during divorce: When the wife is the culprit

There may be animosity between partners during a divorce situation, even under the best of circumstances. It is human nature for individuals to want to keep what they believe to be theirs. Sharing, for some Louisiana residents, may be difficult when it comes to a soon-to-be former partner. This likely when one person might not be so forthcoming when it comes to his or her financial situation and so the issue of hidden assets may crop up.

Many people believe it is a man who most likely will hide his assets from his partner. But that isn't always the case. With this societal assumption, it can be difficult for some men to negotiate a financial settlement during a divorce. Recent statistics show that women in a marriage bring in at least half the earnings and about 80% of women control the finances in a marriage. So, if they are motivated to hide assets, they just might be likely to do so.

The sooner you begin long-term care planning, the better

Long-term care as you get older can become prohibitively expensive. Whether you need skilled assistance in your home to help you administer medication and maintain your property or will end up living in a nursing home, the cost can easily be many thousands of dollars a month.

Even if you dedicated a substantial portion of your income every paycheck toward a comprehensive retirement plan, the savings may not be enough to provide for the cost of long-term care indefinitely.

The importance of a power of attorney in an estate plan

There are a number of documents that can be extremely useful when it comes to planning an estate. A power of attorney is one of these and there are a number of reasons they're an important part of a well-rounded estate plan for Louisiana residents. There are two types of powers of attorney: medical and financial and it's important for residents to know what they each mean.

A health care power of attorney gives someone the authority to make medical decisions on the principal's behalf should the principal be unable to do so because of some incapacity. A financial power of attorney is the same when it comes to financial decisions. Many times one person has the authority for both, but in some cases it may be better to separate the two tasks depending upon the circumstances of the principal. In either case, the agent chosen to act on powers of attorney must always make decisions that he or she deems to be in the best interest of the principal.

Family law: What does best interests of a child really mean?

There is nothing more important than making sure children are happy, healthy and emotionally secure. When it comes to family law in Louisiana, the focus is always on the best interests of the child. That has a myriad of meanings and when it comes to issues of custody and support, solutions should always be made in light of what is optimum for children's needs.

When it comes to child custody, the best interests of children hinge on all decisions being made regarding what is best for a child's mental health, happiness, emotional development and security. A child's safety is paramount. In most instances, it is best when a child can have a loving relationship with both parents, but if there are instances of abuse that may not always be the case. 

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