When you plan your estate, you express your final wishes with regard to the way that you want your assets to be distributed after you are gone. This can seem like the long and short of it, but there are other aspects you should take into consideration when you are creating your plan.
Probate and the Role of the Executor
The Louisiana Civil Code uses the term “testament” for the document most people call a “will.” The page called Parlez Vous Louisiana Estate Planning discusses Louisiana’s special language for estate planning. If you use a testament as the centerpiece of your estate plan, you would name an executor in the document. Your executor is the person who would take care of the hands-on administration tasks after you pass away. Louisiana law allows you to choose whether your executor can act independently of court supervision or whether the executor needs advance court approval to take action.
Under Louisiana law, the testament has to be admitted to probate in the District Court of the parish where the deceased person was domiciled. In Louisiana, we call this procedure a “Succession.” The District Court supervises the “succession.”
Louisiana allows most “successions” to be closed without administration if the debts are small in comparison to the assets and if the heirs or legatees agree to “accept” the succession. process. Louisiana’s probate procedures can be much simpler, less expensive and less inconvenient than the probate procedures in many other states. On the other hand, Louisiana has procedures for conducting a full administration of a succession when the simplified procedures do not apply. A full administration involves having an Executor or Administrator who takes control of the estate property, files a Tableau of Distribution to get debts and expenses recognized and paid, gets assets distributed to the proper successors, files annual and final accountings, and then closes the succession.
Because of the nature of the job, it is important to pick an Executor with the ability to handle these financial-related tasks. You should also consider the age of the person that you name as the executor, and of course, you should make sure they are willing to take on the task.
Most Executors do not have any experience working with a Louisiana District Court. To be sure that everything goes smoothly, you could arrange for our firm to help your executor when the time comes. If we work with you to establish the plan, we will be in an ideal position to guide the executor through the process.
Probate serves a purpose, because creditors are given a chance to seek payment, and the court can examine the testament to make sure that it is valid. At the same time, the probate process can be inconvenient for the rightful heirs to an estate.
There are also a number of expenses that pile up during the process. Plus, the general public can access probate records. Anyone that is interested can find out the details, and this loss of privacy is not very appealing to most people. A revocable living trust can be the ideal alternative to a last testament for a number of different reasons. One of them is the simple fact that assets in the trust can be distributed to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
If you establish a revocable living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well. In the trust agreement, you would name a successor trustee to take over after you pass away, and your heirs would be the beneficiaries.
Since the trust would own all or most of the assets that make up the estate, the administration process would be streamlined for the trustee. You could include a pour-over will that would allow the trust to become the owner of assets that were in your direct possession at the time of your death.
Once again, we can be called upon to help out when the time comes if your family needs some trust administration assistance. We can advise the trustee with regard to the legal steps that must be taken to administer the trust properly.
A revocable living trust is one of many different types of trusts that are used in the field of estate planning. If you use a different trust, we can provide the same level of assistance when it is being administered.
Take Action Today!
Since you are on this site, you must be interested in putting an estate plan in place. As they say, there is no time like the present. We know that it is difficult to discuss these personal matters with someone you have just met, and we take our relationships with our clients to heart.
When you choose our firm, you will get personalized attention from someone that really cares. If you are ready to set the wheels in motion, give us a call at (337) 457-9075. There is also a contact form on this website you can use to send us a message.