When someone dies in Louisiana, they either leave behind documents about their legacy or leave their resources and loved ones at the mercy of Louisiana succession laws. Those who make the effort to plan ahead may leave money to charity and allocate specific property to particular family members.
When someone dies without testamentary documents, the Louisiana succession courts will determine what happens to their belongings. Given that there are already laws in place delegating your property to family members, is it really so important that you create an estate plan or other testamentary document before you die?
There is little nuance in Louisiana succession laws
You may have people that you love who are not part of your immediate family. You might have a romantic partner that you don’t intend to marry or a friend who you would like to leave something meaningful for when you die.
If you don’t have a written estate plan, people who aren’t part of your immediate family may not receive what you want them to get from your estate. Intestate succession laws favor spouses and children, although parents, siblings and grandparents can also inherit when someone has neither children nor a spouse.
The division of the property in the estate will focus more on the financial value to ensure that the outcome aligns with state law rather than prioritizing the emotional value of assets to different people in your family. Especially if you do not have a close relationship with your biological family, you may have a vested interest in preventing them from inheriting all of your property when you die.
Estate planning does more than just allocate property
Your estate plan can do far more than bequeath specific belongings to particular people. It can also help you qualify for Medicaid as you get older or help your loved ones avoid debt collection activity or tax obligations. You will is also a means of naming a guardian for your children.
The more property you have the more unique your family circumstances are, the more important it may be for you to create your own succession documents. Learning more about succession rules in Louisiana will help you better protect the people you love and the legacy you would like to leave.