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Gretna Lousiana Probate Law Blog

What are the tax obligations stemming from estate administration?

Serving as the executor of an estate can mean taking responsibility for a large number of different, difficult tasks. For example, you will likely need to make an inventory of physical possessions and place a value on each item. You will need to advise creditors and service providers of the death of the testator and arrange for the transfer of services while also paying any final bills from the proceeds of the estate.

Beyond that, you also have an obligation to meet the tax liability for both the deceased party and their estate. If you make a mistake in the administration of the estate, you or beneficiaries from the estate could wind up legally or financially responsible for those errors in the future.

Dealing with your deceased loved one's debts

When a loved one dies, they probably left a combination of assets and debts behind them. The executor of the estate will have the responsibility of identifying all assets and using them to pay off the debts that the deceased person had. If you believe that your loved one had a significant amount of debt, you may be worried that this will eat away at your inheritance. Even worse, you may be worried that you will inherit their debt.

In most cases, loved ones will not inherit debt, even if it is not settled by the assets in the estate. However, Louisiana is a community property state. This means that surviving spouses in Louisiana may be liable for their deceased spouse's debts. You must understand how to effectively deal with your loved one's debts after they pass away.

How do executors handle the assets left behind in an estate?

You've received the dubious honor of getting named as executor to the estate of a friend or loved one. Now, you have to figure out how to handle their estate, which can often seem overwhelming for those with no prior estate experience. Although there is a lot of work to do, the good news is that most of that work is straightforward and while potentially tedious, simple.

Other than reading the will itself and verifying its accuracy and validity, the single most important thing you do will likely be creating an inventory of all of the assets as well as the debts and liabilities of the estate. Here are a few tips to make sure that this process goes smoothly.

What duties must I complete if I become an executor?

Being asked to serve as executor of a loved one’s estate can be an honor. However, this honor comes with numerous responsibilities, and you should be sure to understand these responsibilities before you accept the position.

An executor, also called a succession representative, has a legal responsibility to complete the final financial obligations of someone who has passed away. Because every succession proceeding is unique, the duties of executors can vary.

How to update your estate plans after a divorce

After a major life change, your estate plans should be updated. This is particularly true after a divorce. Your ex-spouse is likely the beneficiary on most of your assets, and you should get this updated as soon as possible. Here are the different documents that may need updating after a divorce.

Family conflicts that could arise out of usufructs

Louisiana has some unique estate planning laws that you cannot find in the rest of the nation because it is a civil-law jurisdiction that follows French and Spanish models of asset division. One of the most notable laws is giving surviving spouses access to usufructs.

Usufructs grant the surviving spouse access to the decedent’s community properties while still guaranteeing that the “naked owners” will come to inherit it. In most cases, this refers to the couple’s children or any other potential heirs. Surviving spouses get access if the decedent does not have a will or specifically includes it in the will. Depending on the circumstances, most usufructs will terminate once the surviving spouse dies or remarries.

What is the order of inheritors in Louisiana if there’s no will?

When a Louisiana resident passes without a will, his or her estate is handled under Louisiana intestate law. The succession of inheritors depends on property classifications and relationship to the person who has passed.

If you or a parent do not have a will, the following order of inheritance may someday apply:

Helpful steps in creating a business succession plan

For many business owners, the toughest issue to resolve in a business is how to keep it profitable. However, the biggest question is commonly an unresolved one: how to pass the business on when the owner retires or is unable to run it. Because of the difficulty in answering the question, many business owners may avoid it. And let’s face it, many are simply too busy.

Nevertheless, there are certain steps that business owners can take to position themselves for smooth transitions into retirement, and to protect the business should something happen to them. We will highlight them through this post.

How the latest tax reform affects your estate plan

After long debate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has finally been passed into law. A long and complex document, the tax reform has implications on myriad areas of an individual's life. The changes these new tax regulations have on estate planning are worth understanding in full.

The new law doubles the following exemptions--but only for the next eight years:

The widow's share

You may have heard of a story like this. A couple marries in midlife, and the woman moves into the man's home. Twenty years later, the husband dies, and the wife is horrified to discover that she has no ownership of their home.

Worse, relatives of her husband -- in-laws or step kids -- want her to move out of the house. She faces living on the street because her husband never included her in his will.


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