A. David Aymond, Attorney at Law, LL.M. in Taxation        
209 Highway 22, Ste. G, Madisonville, Louisiana (985) 845-3414            27455 Hwy. 22, Ponchatoula, Louisiana (985) 845-3414



If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”     

      Benjamin Franklin

Estate Planning in Louisiana

See Wills and Sucessions to learn about inheritance rights, probate,wills and trusts, testate and intestate successions, dealing with minors and special needs trusts.

To set up an appointment to draft your  Living Trust, Louisiana Will or to consider Estate Planning options please give us a call at 985-845-3414 or send an e-mail via the contact page. Offices are located in Madisonville, LA and outside Ponchatoula, LA
Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Estate and Gift Taxes

Estate Planning is a broad topic that covers Louisiana Wills and Trusts, Medicaid Planning, Advanced Medical Directives, Powers of Attorney, Louisiana inheritance rights, Living Wills, Living Trusts etc. The estate planning implemented prior to death will impact who receives your property and in what amounts. It may also affect your income and estate tax liability. You can also exercise some control over your health care decisions in the event you are rendered unable to make these decisions yourself.

An experienced Louisiana Estate Planning Lawyer should be consulted to help draft your estate plan
.
 What type of estate planning decisions and techniques are right for you?  Do you need an irrevocable trust for a a child, grandchild or incapacitated family member?  The correct estate plan depends on your specific situation such as your marital status, health, age, income level, net worth, children's ages and disabilities.  
Louisiana Statewide legal services for Wills, Uncontested Successions, Probate, Estate Planning and IRS representation.
Louisiana Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts and Living Trusts

It is an unfortunate fact that many people do not write a will or provide how their property and assets are to be distributed in the event of their demise.  It can be an uncomfortable topic for many of us and we all tend to procrastinate.  It is not unusual that I receive a phone call from a family member after the death of a loved one either to open a succession or to determine their rights in the Louisiana probate proceeding.  Often the wishes of their departed family member are will not be accomplished because of lack of planning.  Even worse, is the failure to plan has created unhappiness or even hostility between family members. For peace of mind and in order to avoid this unfortunate result, writing a Last Will and Testament, along with e Powers of Attorney should be considered before a crisis occurs. An estate planning lawyer can help you decide what is needed to meet your goals. You may need to decide between planning with a Last Will or with a revocable living trust. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For more on this specific issue see ww.louisianalivingtrusts.com.  See also the page on Wills and Successions for additional estate planning techniques. 

Divorced With Minor Children

If you have a previous marriage from which you have minor children it is imperative that you do some planning.  At the very least you need a simple Last Will and a financial power of attorney. Any separate property you own, for example, from your first marriage, or all property if you did not remarry, would go to your children, but your former spouse would control that property! Normally this is a disaster.  Also, in a Last Will you can designate a tutor for your minor child if both you and your spouse die.  The tutor is the person with control over the physical custody and financial management of the minor's property.If you are in that situation, here are some additional reasons to have an attorney draft estate planning documents on your behalf:

  • You can decide who receives your property and in what proportions:
  • To provide for your minor children and assure comfort with the person managing the property;
  • If assets are substantial or of a type requiring it, then to set up a testamentary trust for your minor child and name the Trustee to manage the assets;
  • Leave specific assets to specific children so they don't own them jointly which can sometimes be a problem after they come of age;
  • Write a financial power of attorney so that if you become disabled that your property will not be tied up for months with large legal fees to have a curator appointed.  If you don't do this, then how are your children's financial needs met?  Also, the legal fees and expense of the curatorship proceeding could be substantial and will not be necessary with a properly drafted power of attorney.
  • If you own a closely held business then you want to assure it continues to run smoothly and does not suffer irreparable damage due to delays.
 Federal Estate Tax and Gift Tax
The estate tax and the gift tax laws are constantly changing as to the amount sheltered and not subject to tax, basically this amount is referred to the exemption amount.  A tax credit based on the amount exempted from tax is referred to herein as the unified credit. It is the tax credit received against the federal estate tax calculated. Practically, what this means is that as of this writing, estates over $5.25 million could be subject to the estate tax,

If your estate is large and subject to the estate and gift tax, the rates start at 40% over the exempt amount.  Without careful estate planning, a lifetime of work can be destroyed.  Sadly, very little net revenue is collected by the government after the costs of enforcement are accounted for. Planning techniques are available to avoid your assets going to Uncle Sam at your death, but you must start the process early by consulting an estate planning lawyer, along with other financial team members.

If you are subject to the tax, combine this tax burden with a lack of liquidity from owning real estate or a closely held business and you have a potential catastrophe. Proper estate planning and tax planning using a gifting program,
life insurance trusts, wills and trusts, living trusts and other estate planning tools can save what is potentially a very burdensome tax. 
If the value of what you own at your death (including life insurance proceeds and retirement plan proceeds) is potentially over the exemption equivalent amount in effect, you do have estate planning options.  Remember that life insurance proceeds and retirement plan proceeds are normally included in this calculation i.e. they are taxable under the federal estate tax law.

ESTATE TAX PLANNING TECHNIQUES  

Annual Gift Tax Exclusion 

As of this writing, you can make up to approximately $14,000 in gifts per year per donee without gift tax.  This amount will be permanently out of your assets used to calculate the estate tax.  Double the gift tax exclusion for a joint gift from husband and wife.  Do this for multiple donees, but beware that it must be properly structured and valued.  The amount is indexed for inflation and changes yearly. This is a powerful tool that can move significant funds out of the reach of the tax collector if properly used as these gifts can be made to children, grandchildren and other family members every year.

Trusts Used for Estate Tax Planning

There are many types of Louisiana Trusts that can be used for Estate Planning. For example, Grantor Retained Incomes Trusts (GRITS), Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATS), Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Life Insurance Trusts and other options should be examined when the circumstances warrant.

Conclusion

An experienced Louisiana estate planning lawyer can help you deal with all of the issues discussed above.  Each individual situation is different and should be examined with your specific circumstances in mind.  It is typical for an estate attorney to also work provide probate and succession legal services the person selected should be familiar with the entire process as well as the many estate planning techniques available.

  
For additional information on these and other topics call us at (985) 845-3414 or send us an email.

Home   About Us     Contact Us   Wills & Successions   Estate Planning  Trusts     I.R.S. Matters   LLCs, Corporations     Business Law

The information contained on this website is for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon for your individual legal, tax or estate planning situation. Each individual situation has its distinctive facts and you should seek the advice of a licensed attorney for your specific questions and legal needs.
Visiting this site or posting on the contact us form does not constitute an attorney/client relationship.
Website Builder