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© 2019 by Stutes & Lavergne  Attorneys

ESTATE PLANNING FAQS

Do I need a Will?

A  well-considered and properly drafted will is the best way to ensure that your assets are transferred in accordance with your wishes.  Without a will, most people’s assets will pass to their children.  A surviving spouse would have only a limited right to manage the deceased spouse’s community property, and no rights to separate property.  Most clients are not satisfied with this result.  A will also allows you to:         

 

  • Designate a succession representative and elect independent administration of your estate.      

  • Designate tutors/guardians for minor children if both spouses die.         

  • Establish a trust upon death for minors, special need or troubled children or grandchildren.          

  •  For larger estates, a will can ensure that all death tax exemptions are utilized.

 

 

It is important to note that Louisiana recognizes only two valid will forms.  If your will does not meet the format required, it may not be effective in transferring assets in accordance with your wishes.

 

Do I need a Power of Attorney?

 

A durable power of attorney survives your incapacity, and serves to allow your designated agent to manage your assets for your benefit when you are not otherwise able to do so.  Advantages of having a power of attorney are:   

 

  • A POA is an informal and inexpensive alternative to interdiction.   

  • A POA allows you to choose the person who will act on your behalf, and set forth the conditions under which this person can act.      

  • A POA can be easily revoked at any time until capacity is permanently lost.

Do I need a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A healthcare power of attorney allows you to designate an agent to direct and consent to your medical treatment in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself. A healthcare power of attorney can provide for the following:         

  • It can include a Living Will, which allows you to expressly set forth your preferred end of life medical treatment, specifically whether or not you want life-sustaining procedures withheld or provided.  

  • It can include directions for organ donation.     

  • It can include directions for disposition of your remains.