Preparing a Will in Baton Rouge, LA
Need to Protect Your Loved Ones with a Will? Call (225) 228-4445
A will or testament is a legal declaration which transfers ownership of an individual's property to one or more persons when he or she dies. Often people delay writing a will or testament because it is a morbid subject and not pleasant to think about. Everyone should have a will though, as it gives you a say in where your assets will go and who will be guardians to your children should you pass away.
I can offer will-makers, beneficiaries, and executors strong, compassionate counsel. Contact me, Attorney Wendra J. Moran at (225) 228-4445 or via online form to learn more about estate planning. We have flat-fee rates!
Why Create a Will?
You are not obligated to create a Will in Louisiana. The laws of Louisiana decide which of your family members will receive your property if you do not specify in a Will how you would like your property divided. You are not obligated to brush your teeth every morning either. However, I doubt you want your dentist to make the choice of which teeth you keep, and which you lose.
How to Prepare for Creating a Will
A good place to start would be making an inventory of your assets. Your assets include your investments, retirement plans, savings, insurance policies, real estate, and businesses. When putting together a will or estate plan, you should be mindful of state and federal laws governing this area as they can differ from state to state and change frequently. It is wise to discuss your will with your heirs, even though inheritance can be a touchy subject. Disclosing what your intentions are with regards to your assets upfront can help avoid conflicts after you are gone. It is definitely important to decide who will handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated.
What Does an Executor of a Will Do?
An executor will either be appointed by the court or named in the will itself. They are usually a family member or could be a legal professional trusted by the creator of the will. It will be the executor's responsibility to distribute the deceased's assets according to their will as well as manage the property and assets until they are able to be distributed. In many cases, there will be taxes owed on the estate or bills that will come up, so it is also the executor's responsibility to make sure that these are paid. If the estate is in probate, they will be responsible for appearing at any court dates.
What Happens If I Do not Create a Will?
Louisiana is a Community Property State. As a result, any property a couple acquires during their marriage becomes the property of both. This differs from other states that are Separate Property. In Separate Property States what a person earns or purchases during their marriage belongs to them. However, Separate Property may exist between a married couple in the form of: property a spouse owns (not finances) before marriage, property given directly to a spouse or an inheritance. This separation of property matters because without a Will, children of the marriage will inherit all Separate Property. With the help of a Baton Rouge Estate Planning Attorney you can decide who receives all of your property and in what portions.
Louisiana Courts may decide who becomes your child's Legal Guardian. It is likely a Judge will choose someone who is part of your child's family. But that doesn't mean the Court's choice would be yours. As loving parents we know who would best raise and nurture our child until adulthood. The best Guardian may not be a family member, or at least the one the Court picks. Establishing the most suitable Guardian for your children is as simple as creating a Will and naming your selected Guardian. If you don't create a Will, someone who does not have your knowledge about your child's unique needs may make this decision for you. A Baton Rouge Estate Planning Attorney can help you make and enforce the important decision of who will care for your children when you cannot.
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