Usufruct for Inheritance

Louisiana Law: Usufruct & Estate Planning

Under Louisiana law, it is possible to grant an individual the right to enjoy your property for a set amount of time before handing over ownership to another. The term "usufruct" refers to a clause you can include in your will that allows the designated person to make use of an item such as your house for a specific period of time after your death, with the stipulation that the property must be preserved for when the heirs do take possession. A usufruct commonly lasts until the death of the person who receives the right, though it is possible to appoint a specific date or duration for the right.

Components of Usufruct

There are three components to take into consideration when considering usufruct. Known in Louisiana law as the "Bundle of Rights," it includes the usus, fructus, and abusus. The usus is the right to use and live on a property. Fructus is the right to use the income that is provided by a property, such as rent. Abusus is the right to sell or mortgage the home. Usufruct is a legal right which includes the first two components, meaning they are allowed to live in the home and use any proceeds from the property.

An example of a usufruct involves the inheritance of a house. If a man remarries after the death of his wife, he may want to ultimately leave the house to his children in his will. He can name his new wife in a usufruct in respect to the house so that she can live there for a period of 10 years or until the end of her life, depending on his wishes. When he passes away, the house will become the property of the children, but they will not receive control and possession until after the termination of the usufruct. She can live in the house or let it out to rent for income, but she must maintain it for the day that it transfers to the heirs.

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