For Louisiana residents who want to protect and pass along assets, having an estate plan is vital. However, it's also important to update these documents and arrangements over time. While there is no "standard" time to update estate plans, it's typically advised that plans be reviewed every two or three years to confirm that everything is still valid and appropriate. There are unique circumstances or life events that could also warrant an update to an existing plan.
Louisiana fans of Stan Lee might know that near the end of his life, the comic book artist had several issues with his estate and the people around him. Among them were his claim that $1.4 million was missing from his account and an accusation that his daughter was befriending men who tried to take advantage of him. He took back the latter accusation even though he had signed a notarized document making the claim.
Most trusts created in Louisiana are done so as an estate planning tool to transfer property upon the passing of the settlor, the person who created the trust. Typically, the estate is settled reasonably quickly and the trustee distributes the assets to the beneficiaries without incident. In some circumstances, however, there may be a reason the estate remains open and the trustee is charged with administering the assets for the benefit of beneficiaries throughout a period of time. If problems arise with a trustee, a beneficiary may have grounds to object.
Many people in Louisiana consider how they can leave a legacy behind to their children or other loved ones. Because of their flexibility, trusts can be an excellent option that allow people to transfer their wealth while avoiding the exposure and delay of the probate process. Trusts can also provide people with significant tax incentives during their lifetime. However, some people hesitate when creating trust funds for their children. Parents worry that knowing that there is a large sum of money waiting for them in adulthood will discourage their child from pursuing academic or career excellence.
Some estate plans can lead to family conflict, but there are steps people in Louisiana can take to avoid this. For example, it is important to choose the right executor. Some people may simply choose the closest family member, but it is best to choose someone who is right for the job. The person should be ethical, organized and responsible. One possibility is a professional fiduciary or a corporate trustee.
Setting aside money for the college education of a child, grandchild or other loved one in Louisiana or elsewhere is a smart and compassionate thing to do. A trust is one way to accomplish this goal as it provides a lot of flexibility with its terms and conditions. One of these types of trusts is called a pot trust. It is essentially a pot of money from which beneficiaries can take funds when they need them. One issue with this type of trust is that the assets may be distributed unequally, causing division among the beneficiaries.
Timeshares allow Louisiana residents to use their favorite vacation properties for designated weeks each year and can reduce their travel expenses considerably, but selling them can be difficult even in a booming real estate market. Timeshare purchases once included deeds like other real estate transactions, but they are generally sold today on what is known as a right to use basis. This is the same kind of legal arrangement used by gyms and spas to offer memberships. When timeshare owners pass away, their heirs are not usually required to continue making annual maintenance fees.
Louisiana fans of Aretha Franklin or Prince won't want to follow in their footsteps when it comes to estate planning. Neither had a will despite being worth $80 million and $300 million respectively when they died. Dying without a will means that the government plays a significant role in determining how assets are distributed.
When a Louisiana spouse dies, the surviving spouse may be preoccupied with settling the decedent's estate. However, there are several important steps they should take to get their own estates in order.
People in Louisiana may want to avoid the errors of celebrities such as Aretha Franklin and Prince who died without estate plans. It's important to note that estate planning is not just for people who have wealth and fame. Creating an estate plan ensures that a person's wishes are carried out.