Do I need a will? I am asked this question many times a month.
For most people living in Louisiana the answer is yes.
The laws of Forced Heirship have been changed to allow more flexibility in determining how you dispose of your property at the time of your death.
But before we talk more about wills, you may have the following questions:
What is Forced Heirship?
It is a right that your children have to a certain portion of your property at the time of your death depending upon certain factors such as their age and health at the time of your death.
I should be able to decide what happens with my property when I die? Why doesn’t Louisiana get rid of Forced Heirship?
Forced Heirship is a right guaranteed by the Louisiana State Constitution. However, the legislature has the right to define the term Forced Heir, and has used that authority on several occasions to limit the definition.
So what who is considered a Forced Heir today?
For purposes of this article a forced heir is a child that is twenty-three years of age or younger, who, because of mental incapacity or physical infirmity, is permanently incapable of taking care of themselves.
So, as long as your children do not meet this definition of a forced heir, you can leave your property to anyone if you have a will.
For most people who are married, this means that you can leave all of your property to your spouse at the time of your death.
Even if your child is under the age of twenty-three or has some incapacity or infirmity, you can still leave the use of your property to your spouse (known as a usufruct) for life if you have a will.
There are many other things that you can do with a will which are to numerous to cover in an article such as this and a will is normally not as costly as people think.
Please contact me with any questions that you may have regarding wills.
by Kevin Gipson, New Orleans, Louisiana bankruptcy lawyer.