Will I Owe Louisiana State Inheritance Taxes?

The answer to whether you will owe estate taxes in a Louisiana succession, is probably no.

Under Louisiana law, there are no inheritance taxes for estates of persons that died after June 20, 2004.

There are also no inheritance taxes for estates of persons that died on or before June 20, 2004 as long as an inheritance tax return was not filed before July 1, 2008.

It is unclear whether estates of persons that died on or before June 20, 2004, which filed an inheritance tax return before July 1, 2008 will owe estate taxes.

If you have any questions on successions, contact an experienced estate attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Do I Need To Get A New Louisiana Will If I Have An Out Of State Will?

Legally, Louisiana law has a procedure for recognizing legally valid out of state wills. Therefore, the fact that you have an out of state will does not automatically mean that it is not valid in Louisiana.

The bigger problem with out of state wills, is that Louisiana has very unique laws when it comes to successions. Although courts will attempt to meet the intent of the deceased person’s will, that does not mean this can be accomplished easily.

There may not be any legal equivalent under Louisiana law for the bequests being given in the out of state will. The deceased person may not get the exact legal bequest they wanted in their out of state wills.

Also, the translation of legal terms from the other state to Louisiana may create ambiguity and confusion which could lead to contested issues among the legatees and heirs.

You want to make sure that your out of state last will and testament will do what you want it to do upon your death. If you have an out of state will, you should seek the advice of an experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney.

Wills Are Not Secrets

One of the popular public myths is that wills are a big secret. From a practical stand point, this is not entirely accurate.

The fact that you have a will should not be a secret.

What is contained in the will can be a secret.

You should be very public about the fact that you have a will and where the will is located to those persons, who are named in the will.

You can be so secretive to the point that no one can find it. That defeats the whole purpose of having a will.

If you have any questions about wills, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney. Kent S. DeJean

Reasons To Update Your Will

It is important to remember that persons shouldn’t just execute their wills, store them and not worry about them. Wills should always be updated. Otherwise, there can be an absurd result regarding your estate when you die if your will hasn’t been updated.

The following are some examples of significant events in your life for which you should consult an attorney to update your will:

1. You got married;
2. Someone named in your will has died;
3. You had a child;
3. Your spouse or legatees have become disabled; or
4. You got divorced.

Even if no significant events in your life have occurred, it is still good practice to meet with your attorney every five (5) years to update your will. The reason you should regularly consult with your attorney regarding updating your will, is that your assets can significantly change even in a brief period of time. Also, your relationships can change significantly over time. If your assets or relationships have changed, you may want to update your will to change who gets what.

If you have any questions regarding updating your will, you should consult an experienced estate attorney. Kent S. DeJean

I Want My Daughter To Have My Wedding Ring If I Die. How Do I Make Sure She Gets It!

Every person owns certain property that is special to them. Wedding or engagement rings, furniture, or art collections are examples of sentimental items that people can accumulate  during their lives. These items may be worth a lot due to their collection value. Sometimes items are special for personal reasons.

It is not unusual for people to want certain family members or friends to have these sentimental items or particular things.

People that have these items need to be very careful when it comes to estate planning. Many times people take short cuts. They give verbal instructions to the family as to who will get what when they die. Persons sometimes put names on the bottom of items to indicate who will get the item when that person dies.

It is important to remember that to guarantee that a someone gets that sentimental item, it should be provided for in a will. Under Louisiana law, a will must be in proper form. Verbal instructions and labels on items are not in proper form. Unless there is a legal will, the bequest will be not be enforceable if any of the other heirs contest it.

So it is important to provide for particular bequests of movables in your will or make a clear written donation of the item while you are alive.

If you have any questions regarding wills, please consult an experienced estate planning or succession attorney. Kent S. DeJean


I live in Louisiana, but my will was drafted in another state. What do I do?

It’s common for people to move to different states. Potential clients come to my office asking if it is necessary to execute a new will in Louisiana. The answer to the question is somewhat complex.

The legal answer is that the law does not require that you have a Louisiana will. The will of another state can be probated and recognized by a Louisiana Court. There is a special procedure under Louisiana law that allows heirs and legatees to have these out of state wills recognized legally.

The problem with out of state wills is that they are drafted according the laws of that other state. Louisiana law can be very different from other states, and terminology can be very different state to state. Also, certain legal concepts may exist in one and may either be very different or not exist in another.

Although Louisiana courts will attempt to comply with the wishes of the decedent in their out-of-state will, they still may be unable to implement the directions due to the difference in the law. Sometimes, it may be difficult to implement the intent because there is no such legal concept under Louisiana law.

It is advisable that you have your out-of-state will examined by a Louisiana attorney to determine whether you need to have a Louisiana will drafted and executed to make sure your intentions are recognized and implemented.

If you have any questions concerning wills, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

Medicare spending slowdown

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is unable to explain a recent decline in Medicare costs.  According to the CBO’s report, however, the Great Recession was not the cause in Medicare spending slowdown.  It states that spending on Medicare increased by 7.1% from 2000 to 2005, then dropped by 3.8% from 2007 to 2010.  Hospital inpatient spending growth was cut by more than half during that time to 1.7%, and hospice spending increased slowed drastically to 2.3%, less than one-sixth of their previous rates.  Physician services and outpatient care hikes were more muted.

According to the report, the CBO does not believe that the decline in home values, significant losses, financial assets and slower growth in income caused the elderly to use less medical services.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.

Wills: Beware of leaving it all to your spouse

Kent S. DeJean | Attorney at Law

Since the repeal of forced heirship laws in Louisiana, some have rushed off to execute wills giving everything to the other spouse.  They effectively disinherit children that are over the age of twenty-three and suffer from no physical and mental impairments.

A will that gives everything one’s spouse is what my law firm affectionately calls an “I love you” will; this may seem like a great idea initially. However, there are some factors that many people don’t think about when drafting one.

What if your spouse re-marries after you pass away? There is no guarantee that your children that they will get any part of your estate in the future. You spouse may execute an “I love you” will to his or her new spouse.

These wills can also create problems with certain governmental benefits, like Medicaid. If you’ve given everything you own to your spouse, this could disqualify them from receiving such benefits. You spouse will not be able to renounce his or her rights and will have an even larger estate to plan, which may have serious financial implications.

What if your spouse later experiences financial problems? If you have given everything you own to your spouse, your spouse’s assets aren’t the only ones that could be seized by  creditors.  Everything you’ve given her in your will could be too.

Before making a hasty decision to execute an “I love you” will, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

If you execute a pre-nup, then you need to do estate planning

by Kent S. DeJean, Attorney at Law

More and more people are executing pre-nuptial agreements before marriage, along with post-nuptial court-approved agreements after. In Louisiana, these agreements are called “Separate Matrimonial Regime Agreements,” and they’re particularly important because they insure that property acquired or debts incurred during the marriage remain the separate property of that person.

However, the execution of a pre- or post-nuptial agreement can create unintended consequences for estate succession purposes, since all property of the person is deemed to be his or her separate property.

If someone that executed a pre- or post-nuptial agreement dies without executing a will, their property will go to their children or family (siblings, parents, etc.), not to the other spouse.

For that reason, it’s necessary for spouses that have executed nuptial agreements to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in order to adequately plan and provide for the other spouse by written will if they so desire.