Many families in Louisiana have a hard time discussing financial issues with each other. When families gather together, adult children may want to take the opportunity to talk about estate planning with their aging parents. It's important to broach the topic in a respectful way and let aging family members know that planning ahead is in their best interest.
Ideally, all adults living in Louisiana will have a health care directive. A health care directive allows an individual to have greater control over the treatment that he or she receives after becoming ill or mentally incapacitated. It can also provide instructions as to how a person should be handled after passing on. Although living wills are legal in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, roughly two-thirds of Americans do not have one.
Those who are creating an estate plan in Louisiana or any other state may want to create more than one trust. While this isn't always necessary, it is possible to have two or more trusts in effect at the same time. However, if the second trust is designed to rescind the first one, it is likely that the original document will no longer be considered valid. It is also possible that the second trust will be considered an amendment to the original document.
Louisiana residents should ensure that they review their estate plans regularly. Director John Singleton, who died suddenly of a stroke in April, had a will from 1993 that had never been updated. Instead of a trust that would keep his estate plan private, make his wishes clear and appoint one or more people to handle his intellectual property, the will names the only one of his five children who had been born at that point as the heir.
Many Louisiana families are different from the traditional model of a mother, a father and their children living in one house together. They are far more likely to include stepchildren or adopted children, an unmarried cohabiting couple, single parents or to differ in some other way. This has implications for estate planning.
Financial concerns, fertility issues or other problems may keep individuals in Louisiana or anywhere else from having children. However, it is still generally a good idea for all adults to have an estate plan even if they don't have kids. It is also important to have a plan that accounts for the possibility that both spouses could pass at nearly the same time. It is considered a best practice to have a will as part of an estate plan.
Wills and trusts are both important types of estate documents that can help people in Louisiana to plan for the future and provide for their loved ones after they pass away. A full estate plan will often include a will as well as one or several trusts. While one of these documents may be the major backbone of the estate, both can play a major role in properly ensuring that a person's assets are distributed correctly. There are different reasons why people may choose to focus primarily on a will or on a trust to pass on funds and property.
Many people in Louisiana and throughout the country have pets, and it is possible to care for them after the owners have passed on. Money and other assets can be left behind for cats, dogs and other animals as part of an estate plan. While this can be done through a will, it may be best to do so with a trust.
In Louisiana and across the United States, people tend to procrastinate about planning their estates. Drafting wills and creating trusts are not at the top of most to-do lists. Sadly, financial affairs can become complicated if a person becomes ill. Most lawyers advise clients to create family trusts. Estate planning before something unexpected happens is the best plan. Contacting an estate planning attorney can help clarify any questions or concerns.
Parents in Louisiana who have young children are likely to want to leave certain high-value assets to those children. However, they should make sure that the estate plan they develop is more complex than just a will. In fact, including a trust as part of an estate plan can help parents ensure that the assets they leave to children or young adults will not be irresponsibly managed.