Navigating You Through Complex Estate Planning
Although death is a certainty, contemplating it and what should be done with one’s estate is not something most people want to spend time thinking about. Many people understandably procrastinate in addressing this process. An experienced and qualified attorney can help people navigate the issues with minimal difficulties to the client. Life is uncertain, and people rarely know when it will be too create a legally enforceable directive of what they want done with their assets.
Property Succession · Wills · Trusts · Will Contests · Advanced Directives
Taking proactive steps in drafting a will or trust is the first of many steps involved in estate planning and probate. A will provides you with assurance. You and your loved ones that you designate as beneficiaries will have peace of mind. Your will is your expression of how you want your property distributed, which hopefully will keep any conflict to a minimum.
If you have children, it is even more important to take action through your will so that you can address their future welfare. You could create a trust that helps ensure the property left to them is used wisely and to their benefit, including providing for their education and basic living expenses while they transition to becoming responsible adults. You can also make a recommendation to the court as to whom you desire to be their guardian in the event of your demise. Any such guardianship recommendation must be approved by the court.
Additional Estate Planning Services
Our firm can help you create a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a living will. Basically, a power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to take care of your affairs. A durable power of attorney would remain in effect should you become incapacitated. A health care power of attorney grants your agent the authority to make certain health care decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated and unable to make such decisions. Having a durable power of attorney in place may allow your loved ones to avoid bearing the significant expense of an interdiction proceeding in a court to appoint someone to take care of your affairs should you become incapacitated. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether or not granting power of attorney would be an appropriate thing to do.
A living will (advance directive) clarifies your desires regarding life support in the event you suffer from a medical condition that is irreversible or terminal and you are unable to communicate your desires at that time.
The estate planning process requires an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to comply with all legal formalities that take effect following death. A will alone is not enough. The document must go through a probate and approval process in court that may include the appointment of an executor.
The Need For Ongoing, Compassionate Legal Counsel
In Louisiana, succession takes place after your death. It is a legal proceeding in which your property is collected, debts are paid and the property is legally transferred to the heirs. While many people take the necessary steps in successions, some assume that the process is complete once a will is drafted. It is not. Once you pass and should you have a will, it is also necessary in Louisiana to file the will with the court in order to legally enforce the will.
Important documents can easily become outdated over time because of divorce and other life-changing milestones. It is important to evaluate your will should any such events occur. Regardless of whether such an event occurs, you should evaluate whether or not your will meets your needs at least on an annual basis. Additional legal help is needed should revisions to the will and revocations become necessary. People should also be sure to review the beneficiary designations of their retirement accounts and life insurance, as these funds will be paid directly to the named beneficiary and are not governed by your will.
Each client comes to Erik E. Kjeldsen, Attorney at Law, with unique issues involving estate planning or the probate process. For those clients with children, specific matters could include physical or financial guardianships for their children and the use of life insurance or retirement plan proceeds to fund testamentary trusts for their benefit.
Estate planning can combine legal complexities with emotional disputes. Our focus is on helping you make good decisions and finding the best possible resolution for all concerned.