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Estate Planning FAQ

Answers to Common Estate Planning Questions

At Hebert Holmes & Fontenot, our Allen Parish wills & successions attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience assisting clients through all aspects of estate planning. Since most people that come to our firm have various questions initially, we have decided to create an estate planning frequently asked questions page. We encourage you to continue reading the list of commonly asked questions we have provided below. To obtain more information about the benefits of estate planning and to find out which tools would help you achieve your goals, we encourage you to contact our firm directly. We're here to answer all of your questions and guide you towards the financial security you deserve!

What is a will?
A will is a legal document that directs how certain property that you own at the time of your death is distributed among your beneficiaries or heirs. In order for a will to be valid, it must be properly executed according to Louisiana law. Your will only goes into effect once you pass away.

What property is distributed under my will?
Your will controls the distribution of those assets that are subject to succession. Your succession property consists of the property that you owned that is not owned jointly with someone else. For example, your personal possessions, your automobiles, jewelry, cars registered in your name, and real estate titled in your name, bank accounts that do not have a payable on death designation and stocks and bonds held in an account that do not have a payable on death designation are all distributed under your will.

Do I need a will?
It is a very good idea to create a will. While a will has many functions, the most important thing it can do is change the order of succession that would take place in the absence of a will in Louisiana. A will can also name a guardian for minor children, it can name a succession representative, it can create a trust for grandchildren or a special needs child, and it can remove doubts for family members about what you would have wanted after your death.

What is a revocable living trust?
A revocable living trust is an arrangement whereby you transfer ownership of your property into a trust during your lifetime. Unlike a will, which goes into effect when you die, you can benefit from a living trust while you are alive. The trust is revocable by nature, meaning it enables you to make changes so that it fits your personal situation. As the grantor of the trust, you can appoint a trustee to manage the trust property. The trust essentially acts as a rulebook for how your assets are to be handled when you die.

What is succession?
Succession is the court supervised process of settling a deceased person's estate and distributing the property among beneficiaries and heirs after all debts are paid. Succession is called probate in other states.

What is usufruct?
Usufruct is the right to enjoy or benefit from another's property as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed. This situation commonly applies in Louisiana when one person inherits the right to use property while the other inherits the right to sell or mortgage the property. For example, the surviving spouse may have the right to live in a home while the decedent's child has the right to sell the home.

What is separate property?
Separate property is property that was owned before marriage, inherited property, or property that was given to one of the spouses. In Louisiana, if one spouse dies without a will, the surviving spouse inherits none of the other spouse's separate property. Instead, the separate property would go to the decedent's children or nearest blood relatives.

Allen Parish Wills & Successions Lawyers

At Hebert Holmes & Fontenot, we have been servicing clients throughout Southwest Louisiana since 1978. In addition to having our Juris Doctors, our lawyers have a variety of complimentary credentials, including being a former prosecutor for the 33rd Judicial District and a city attorney and magistrate for Elton, Louisiana among others. If you have further questions, we're here to offer you the insight and direction you need to begin your journey towards optimum financial peace of mind.

Contact an Allen Parish wills & successions attorney from our firm to evaluate all of your legal options!

Hebert Holmes & Fontenot - Allen Parish Wills & Successions Lawyer
528 North Ninth Street
Kinder, LA 70648
Phone: (337) 738-2568

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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