Louisiana Wills, Trusts, Successions, and Estate Planning Attorneys
Estate Planning Attorneys Assisting Clients in LouisianaHudson, Potts & Bernstein has helped many individuals and families with estate planning matters in Louisiana for decades. Our goal is to use practical legal strategies to best put your wishes for after your death into an effective and clear estate plan that best protects your hard-earned assets. If you would like to discuss your estate planning needs with one of our highly experienced lawyers, please reach out to our office today for more information.
Developing a Comprehensive Estate Plan that Suits Your NeedsThe most well-known estate planning document is a last will and testament, which allows a testator (the person drafting the will) to indicate how their property will be dispersed after their death. However, you should realize that there are many other legal tools available to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that can save resources for your family, protect your own interests, and fill in any gaps that a will may not address. The following are some of the documents that our estate planning attorneys can prepare for you and help to implement when the time comes.
WillsA will can serve various purposes, including allowing you to designate who will receive what assets and property after your death. In addition, a will can set out who will be responsible for your children should they be left with no legal parents, can give instructions for charitable giving, and will designate who will serve as the executor of your estate during the probate process.
While certain handwritten wills are recognized in Louisiana, it is always a wise idea to draft your will with the guidance of a highly experienced wills attorney. An attorney can ensure that you fully address every matter necessary to allow you to have full control over the disposition of your property. If you leave something out of a will, the probate court may have the power to dispose of that property in accordance with Louisiana law and not necessarily in accordance with what you may have wanted. Our lawyers help you draft effective and enforceable wills so that your hard-earned property is protected.
TrustsA living trust is a power estate planning tool that can have many benefits for you and your family. When you form a trust, you essentially transfer ownership of your assets and property over to the trust, though you still have the ability to manage your property until you pass away. You also will need to devise a trust document that instructs a successor trustee of your designation how to distribute the property in the trust to your selected beneficiaries.
A trust gives you more specific power over the distribution of your property, as you can put conditions on the distributions and can also dispose of your property over time. In addition, property in a trust does not have to go through probate, so it can save your family time, money, and energy. Trusts can also have tax benefits and can shield your property from creditors in certain situations. You should always discuss whether a trust is right for you with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.
Powers of AttorneyMany people fail to realize that having designated powers of attorney as part of your estate plan is often critical for your end of life care. If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, you will no longer have the ability to manage your financial accounts and legal affairs or to make your own decisions regarding your healthcare. By signing powers of attorney, you can designate specific trusted individuals to manage your affairs and make decisions for you. You can have the same person serve as both your financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney or can divide the responsibilities among two individuals. You should also have a healthcare directive that clearly sets out your own wishes for your end of life care.
Representation During the Probate ProcessIn addition to helping you with your estate plan creation, our skilled attorneys can also provide assistance to executors of estates during the often complex probate process. Estate administration can involve many different tasks, including filing taxes, paying accounts, managing investments, notifying beneficiaries, inventory of property, distribution of property, and more. All too often, an executor may not have the time or ability to properly administer the entire estate. We can step in and provide guidance throughout every step of the probate process so that an estate is settled in the most efficient manner possible while preserving the assets of the estate.
In addition, beneficiaries or potential heirs to an estate can bring legal challenges to provisions in the will if they believe that the will was signed under undue influence, the will was based on fraud, or the testator did not have the mental capacity to sign the will. These will contests can be adversarial and challenging and our attorneys can provide representation to either the challenger of the will or the executor defending the will. If you have any questions or concerns about probate, please call to learn more about our services today.
Speak with an Experienced Wills, Trusts, and Succession Planning Attorney TodayMany people fail to properly develop an adequate estate plan because they believe they are too young or that they do not have adequate assets or property to warrant an estate plan. This is a mistake, however, because having a proper estate plan can make the process easier on your family and can ensure your interests are protected in your end of life.
At Hudson, Potts & Bernstein, our estate planning attorneys know that a comprehensive estate plan can benefit almost any adult in Louisiana. We have helped to plan and settle estates of all types and sizes and can assist you with any estate planning questions you may have. If you would like to learn more about the importance of an estate plan and your estate planning options, please contact our office online or call us at 1-318-388-4400 today.