Making The Complex

Louisiana Wills And Trusts

What Happens When Someone Dies Without A Will?

Dying without a will is called dying intestate. If you die without a will in Louisiana, your property is divided among your family members according to Louisiana law.

Louisiana is a community property state. The division of your property depends on whether it is separate or community property. Community property is property you and your spouse acquired while married. Separate property is property you owned before marriage or you received as inherited property or gifts.

Your separate property goes first to your children or grandchildren. If you don’t have children or grandchildren, your separate property is distributed in this order:

  • Your brothers and sisters
  • Your nieces and nephews
  • Your parents
  • Your spouse
  • Your grandparents
  • Other relatives

Your community property will go first to your children. However, your surviving spouse may have the right to use the property. This right is called usufruct. If you don’t have children, your spouse receives your community property. If you don’t have children or a spouse, your community property goes to other relatives.

If you want to make sure certain property goes to certain loved ones, it is in your best interest to have a valid will drafted by an experienced lawyer at Nicaud & Sunseri Law Firm, LLC. To discuss your needs and concerns, schedule a consultation with us today.

What Can Drafting A Will Accomplish?

In Louisiana, you can make a valid will if you are at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Your will must be in writing and signed by you and two witnesses at your direction and in your presence.

In a will you can:

  • Distribute your property
  • Select a guardian for your minor children
  • Name an executor or personal representative to manage the probate of your will and the distribution of your property after your death

You can change your will by making a new will that replaces or revokes the old one or by making an addition to the will, called a codicil such as a marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, new property ownership or moving to another state should cause you to review and consider whether it should be changed to fit your new situation.

A detail-oriented lawyer at Nicaud & Sunseri Law Firm, LLC, can explain the consequences of some of the most basic choices you must make in writing your will. It makes sense to have an estate planning lawyer draft your will so you will avoid costly mistakes and achieve your intended results.

What Are Trusts?

There are many kinds of trusts. Often trusts are set up to care for minor children or disabled adult relatives. A parent can name a trustee to be in control of the trust finances and property. The trustee is usually a family member or trusted friend. The trustee can be paid an hourly rate or a set monthly amount for their services out of the trust assets.

A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust can be set up to provide benefits to a disabled person. It may be possible for them to receive trust benefits without being disqualified from receiving government benefits such as Social Security and Medicaid. The trust must contain language making clear that trust distributions are to supplement, not replace, any basic support benefits otherwise available to the disabled person.

Learn More. Contact Us Today.

Wills, trusts and other estate planning documents such as living wills can help make sure that your wishes are clear and carried out correctly. Our firm is here to help you accomplish this.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney, call 504-662-9596 or 985-218-0494, or contact us online. With offices in Metairie and St. Tammany Parish, we advise and represent clients on the Southshore and the Northshore.