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Listing assets outside a will may benefit elder law plans

Many Louisiana residents want to ensure that their surviving family members receive specified assets after their deaths. In order to do so, these individuals often take advantage of the estate planning area of elder law. In doing so, understanding what assets and beneficiaries to mention in a will may save time and money later on.

Creating a will is the traditional way to ensure that loved ones will inherit property after a death, but there is not necessarily a need to list every personal item directly in a will. Because wills are legal documents, any changes made to the documents will likely need to be executed through your legal counsel. As a result, if you sell a personal item or decide it is not worth leaving to another party, you may need to take the time to follow the proper channels to change your will. 

Rather than creating such a list in a will, individuals may wish to create a Tangible Personal Property List apart from the will. This list can name specific assets and to whom they should be given, but because it lies outside official estate planning documents, it can be changed as you see fit. However, it is important to mention the list in the will in order to for the list to be considered legally binding. 

The asset distribution aspects of estate planning are often the most important to many individuals. Therefore, having information on the best way in which to bequeath items may prove considerably valuable to those planning. Experienced elder law attorneys may be able to provide interested Louisiana residents with such information and advice on how best to create their plans.

Source:, "Will should not include distributions for personal items", Joseph Karp, Dec. 29, 2016

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