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About trusts and estate planning

There are many different legal devices Louisiana residents can use to develop an estate plan that will ensure that their wishes are honored after they die. One of these is the trust, which can be a very important part of an effective estate plan.

Individuals can use a trust to provide protection of assets in the event that they are unable to make decisions on their own. After creating a trust and transferring their assets into the trustee, individuals can serve as the trustee, maintaining control of the assets and benefiting from any income. A successor trustee should be designated to assume control of the trust should the initial trustee becomes incapacitated.

Trusts are also useful for avoiding the probate process, a legal procedure that can be costly and take years to be resolved. Trust documents can be used to stipulate how trust assets should be distributed.

Individuals may also want to include a trust in their estate plans to protect their heirs and the assets that are intended for them. For example, a trust can be used ensure that assets are managed responsibly and are not at risk of being wasted by the heirs or lost due to a divorce. If the heirs are young, provisions can be included in a trust to ensure that the trust assets will be managed by the trustee until the heirs are at an age at which they can manage their own finances responsibly.

An attorney who practices estate planning may assist clients with determining what type of legal devices should be included in their estate plans. The attorney might suggest certain types of trusts to ensure the proper protection and management after a client's death. Assistance may be provided with drafting the provisions of a trust and determining which assets should be transferred in the trust.

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