Metairie Estate Planning Lawyer

Allocating time for estate planning is essential for everyone, regardless of financial status or age. Despite the common misconception that preparing and creating estate documents is mainly for the rich or elderly, that could not be further from the truth.

Estate planning has countless advantages, allowing you to instruct your loved ones about your final wishes should something happen and offering peace of mind. At Damon J. Baldone & Associates, we help make a potentially difficult and unpleasant process simple and comfortable. Schedule a meeting with a knowledgeable Metairie estate planning lawyer to review your options.

What Are the Three Essential Components of Every Estate Plan?

Estate plans and end-of-life preparations are deeply personal and tailored to each individual’s unique needs and desires. While these plans may vary greatly from person to person, a capable estate planning attorney in Metairie will discuss three fundamental components with you.

Last Will or Trust

The last will—revocable or irrevocable—details how the estate planner wishes to divide their property and assets. Upon the willmaker’s passing, their will activates, outlining their desires for an estate representative, disbursing funds to heirs, and more. On the other hand, trusts are legal entities into which individuals transfer funds during their lifetime. They activate upon funding, distributing funds as per their instructions.

Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney (POAs) authorize legal authority to the chosen individuals, allowing them to make crucial decisions on the estate planner’s behalf. The legal documents are vital for a thorough estate plan and provide protection in the event of mental impairment or incapacitation.

Beneficiary Designations

Naming beneficiaries in wills or trust documents is common practice; these are the individuals whom the planners’ wish to inherit their property and assets. It is also essential to name beneficiaries on insurance policies and any financial accounts. Estate planners should regularly review the beneficiaries they name and update or revise as needed based on life-changing events or circumstances.

Steps to Prepare an Estate Plan

Many factors go into estate planning to ensure all aspects are properly addressed. Some of the essential steps to prepare a comprehensive plan include:

  • Preparing an up-to-date and complete list of property, assets, and outstanding debt
  • Creating and executing the will or trust documents in compliance with state law
  • Preparing a living will, also called health care directives, naming a POA, and providing guidance for end-of-life care
  • Drafting and signing a financial POA and electing a trusted party to make financial decisions on their behalf if they cannot make them on their own
  • Naming beneficiaries on life insurance policies, bank accounts, and retirement accounts
  • Reviewing the estate plan on a scheduled basis and making changes as needed

A determined Metairie estate planning attorney could guide families through each step while protecting their interests, including financial decisions and unique desires for the future.

Preparing a Trust in Louisiana

Estate planners, or testators, have a range of trusts to choose from depending on their intentions, financial goals, and desired outcomes. The Louisiana Civil Code § 1572 governs the trust regulations, allowing testators to delegate people or entities to act on their behalf and transfer funds according to their terms and desires. While there are many types of trusts, most fall within two primary categories: revocable and irrevocable trusts.

Revocable—or living—trusts allow the maker to select beneficiaries to receive funds per their specific instructions. The maker retains the ability to amend or cancel the trust at any time, making it a popular choice in estate planning.

Irrevocable trusts do not allow the same freedom to make changes once they are funded. However, they provide certain benefits that revocable trusts do not offer, such as potential tax benefits, enabling the trust maker to qualify for government-based programs that consider assets for eligibility. Navigating these options can be complex, but an estate planning lawyer in Metairie could go through the options to help determine which is most fitting based on a particular person’s needs.

Consult With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Metairie

Estate planning can be a delicate process, one that requires thoughtful consideration and time. Similarly, decisions about end-of-life care and arrangements can be unpleasant, leading you to put it off or neglect it.

However, estate planning has countless benefits, and every adult should consider preparing to protect their assets and leave a lasting legacy. Reach out to a Metairie estate planning lawyer to learn more about how to get started today.


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