What’s in a Will?
It’s very important to learn how to write a will — especially in Louisiana. The reason is that our state follows a law known as “forced heirship,” which forces a person to leave a portion of his or her estate to heirs.
You need to know what goes in a will to be as confident as possible that your final wishes will be carried out to your exact specifications. The Louisiana estate lawyers with Irpino, Avin & Hawkins can help make sure your will is filled out correctly so you have complete peace of mind.
When to Get a Will
Whether you’re in your 20s or your 60s, you should have a will. You might be thinking, “Why do I need a will? I’m only 25.” Unfortunately, none of us can predict the future. If a tragedy occurs, you want to make sure the ones you love will be taken care of just as you want.
You could write your will on your own by going online to find templates and advice or you can speak with a New Orleans estate planning lawyer to make sure everything is written down correctly. Whatever your decision, it’s imperative that you state who you want to receive your property, assets and possessions should you pass away.
What Goes in a Will?
There’s no specific language that needs to go into your will, so long as you spell out how you want your property distributed. You’ll need to make sure you name the executor of the document and name guardians if you have children. The document will also need to include how you want your taxes and debts paid and how you want your pets provided for, if applicable.
But there are quite a few pieces of information you shouldn’t include in your will. For example, you should never attach any conditions to your gifts. For example, you shouldn’t say you’ll leave your house to your daughter if she graduates from law school. Also, you shouldn’t state that you’re leaving property to a pet or leave any instructions for your final arrangements.
Updating Your Will
You might have already been proactive and completed a will, but several years might have passed. You should think about updating it periodically to make sure all beneficiaries have been included. For example, you might have either sold or acquired substantial assets since you filled out the original will or you might have new beneficiaries in the family, such as in-laws or grandchildren. You might have moved into a new home or even started a business. There’s also a chance that tax laws have changed.
This is one of the many reasons why you should contact the Louisiana estate lawyers with Irpino, Avin & Hawkins to make sure everything is current in the document.
Louisiana Forced Heirship
Again, Louisiana law follows the doctrine of forced heirship, which can sometimes cause complications when determining how to write a will. Louisiana forced heirship is unique in that it is designed to keep people from disinheriting their children. This law puts some substantial restrictions on your ability to leave your assets and property to someone else.
Louisiana forced heirship defines an heir to be a child who was younger than 24 years of age when the decedent died, as well as children of any age who have been permanently incapacitated. If all of the decedent’s children have passed away, the grandchildren may be considered forced heirs.
The “forced portion” of the estate is also referred to as the “legitime.” Upon the decedent’s death, his or her estate is divided into the legitime and the disposable portion. The forced part is given to the forced heirs while the disposable portion is divided per the decedent’s will.
This just scratches the surface of the complexities that can be involved in deciding how to write a will. If you would like help with yours — whether it involves issues of Louisiana forced heirship or anything else — get in touch with a New Orleans estate planning lawyer at Irpino, Avin & Hawkins. Contact us online or call 800-7500-LAW.