Louisiana Inheritance Laws: The Basics
Whether you’re dealing with the death of a family member or you’re planning for how your affairs are handled after you pass away, understanding inheritance laws in Louisiana is essential to ensuring your family is looked after.
There are numerous variables to consider from wills to taxes when planning for inheritance. The experienced and compassionate attorneys at Dowden & Smith are well-versed in Louisiana inheritance laws and can help ensure your family isn’t left wondering what happens next.
Louisiana Inheritance Laws – Will or No Will?
When you’re the inheriting party, the most important thing to consider when looking into Louisiana inheritance laws is whether or not there is a will in place. If the deceased individual had a will, the terms of the will generally dictate the distribution of inheritance.
According to Louisiana inheritance laws, a notarial will must be signed by two non-inheriting witnesses in the presence of a notary. It’s important to ensure these conditions are met, otherwise the will is invalid. If the estate is worth over $125,000, the court may have to be involved to ensure the distribution of inheritance is followed according to the will.
However, if there is no will, the inheritance will most likely need to be broken down by parentage percentage. Meaning the inheritance will be distributed based on how each child is related to the deceased parent. This process typically requires the court to intervene through an investigation of the relation between the deceased individual and surviving family members, although this probate process can be costly and lengthy.
Louisiana inheritance laws provide an alternate solution, known as independent administration, for those who wish to bypass much of the court oversight involved in an ordinary administration of a succession. Independent administration requires all heirs to agree to a solution.
Louisiana inheritance laws do not require an inheritance tax, however that does not exempt heirs from federal taxes.
[Related: The Difference Between A Will & Estate Plan]
Community & Separate Property
If the deceased individual was married at the time of death, you may be wondering if their property will be passed directly to their spouse. In marriage, there are two types of property: community property and separate property.
Community property may sound confusing, but it can essentially be boiled down to property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This property is typically owned equally by the spouses. However, inherited or gifted property may not fall under the community property classification if only one spouse was the recipient of said gift or inheritance. Instead, these gifts or inheritances are classified as separate property.
Separate property, simply put, is everything that is not community property. This means that all property acquired by single individuals meets this classification.
Figuring out what goes to who and if your inheritance is community or separate property can be overwhelming, especially when considering the emotional turmoil of losing a loved one. Let the Louisiana inheritance law attorneys at Dowden & Smith put your mind at ease. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation and receive honest and experienced legal advice.
Forced Heirship & Louisiana Inheritance Laws
When it comes to inheritance laws, Louisiana is unique in the United States due to forced heirship. Forced heirship is a legal provision that requires the deceased’s estate to be distributed in a certain way.
In Louisiana, this law means that children under a certain age, as well as those with certain conditions, must inherit a portion of the estate, even if the parent’s will intentionally leaves them out.
Plan For Inheritance Now
Succession and inheritance is a difficulty and complex situation, as each family and situation brings it’s own variables. Planning ahead for how your estate will be distributed after your death is the best option to ensure your family is cared for after you pass. You can trust the experienced estate planning attorneys at Dowden & Smith to deliver an estate plan that protects and provides for your family. Call our office today at 337-238-2800 to schedule a free consultation and learn about your options.