Making The Complex

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Elder law: A will alone does not eliminate probate in Louisiana

It is likely that many Louisiana residents hope to make their passing easier on their surviving family. Because loved ones often face emotional struggles after a relative’s death, individuals may hope that their estate plans will allow their families to move past their loss more easily. However, aspects of elder law can prove complex, and some individuals may have a misunderstanding of certain planning tools. 

It is common for parties to create a Last Will and Testament in order to detail how they would like their estate handled. While this document can prove immensely useful during estate administration, it is important to understand that a will does not eliminate the need for probate. Indeed, probate is the only process that allows for the distribution of assets as detailed in the will. 

Still, some individuals may believe that the more detailed they are in their document, the less likely probate will be. However, even with a specifically detailed will that indicates who should receive what property, probate is still necessary. Rather than considering the process a negative one to be avoided, individuals may want to understand that probate works to enforce the wishes set forth in the will. 

Though a will does not help surviving parties avoid probate, the document can still have many uses. Therefore, Louisiana residents may want to assess their estates and determine what they would like to include in their wills. If avoiding probate is still a main goal, interested parties may wish to speak with experienced elder law attorneys who could provide information on different tools that could help achieve that goal.

Source:, “Myths about joint ownership, wills“, March 29, 2017


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