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Making The Complex Understandable

Estate planning in Louisiana when stepchildren are involved

Blended families are a way of familial life today. When it comes to estate planning, Louisiana residents who have stepchildren should be aware of some planning advice whether they wish to leave their stepchildren an inheritance or whether they don't. But even when stepchildren and stepparents have wonderful relationships, the law doesn't automatically view them as parents and children unless the stepparent has formally adopted the children. So, the law doesn't see them as being relations and those who die without specifically mentioning their stepchildren in a will may be doing those loved ones a disservice.

However, having an estate plan in place that specifically mentions stepchildren is a clear-cut way for them not to be left out of what a stepparent might have wanted them to have after the stepparent dies. Legacy laws vary from state to state and having a will is the best way for a person's last wishes to be fulfilled. Intestacy laws may keep stepchildren from inheriting anything from their stepparent's estates in the absence of a will.

A legally binding will or a living trust will ensure that any stepchildren a testator names will inherit a share of assets. Estate planning documents can also include the names of those individuals a testator specifically does not want to inherit any of his or her assets. Anyone, but a living spouse, can be disinherited in a will.

The laws in Louisiana regarding estate planning can be confusing. Getting the help of an attorney prior to beginning the planning might be a wise idea. A lawyer will steer his or her client in the right direction when it comes to what should and shouldn't be included in end-of-life documents.

Source: legacyassuranceplan.com, "Planning for Your Stepchildren", Accessed on May 18, 2018

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