Carefully Planning Your Estate
The estate planning attorneys at Weems, Schimpf, Haines, Shemwell & Moore (APLC) take a highly personalized approach to estate planning. Before creating an estate plan, our attorneys need to understand what you want it to do.
A good estate plan is going to involve trusts, powers of attorney, and nonprobate assets such as IRAs, life insurance policies, and annuities. It is going to consider the needs of your family after you are gone. It’s also going to protect the assets it leaves for your family, while giving them flexibility and control.
If a husband and wife simply leave assets to one another, then the surviving partner will have double the assets he or she will need to give away before dying to qualify for Medicaid. If the husband and wife leave the money to each other in a trust, the surviving partner can benefit from it, but the government can’t count it for Medicaid purposes. Almost all of our clients have wills that leave assets to a trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse that is safe from the government.
Louisiana allows people to give property to another person via a device called a usufruct. However, we don’t recommend this approach. A usufruct is simply a poorly drafted trust which can lead to a lot of complications.
We also provide families guidance in successions.
Planning For The Unexpected
While you can’t foresee the future, you can plan for problems that may occur. One of the ways you can do this is through a living will.
A living will specifies what types of medical care you would like to receive if you are in an end-of-life situation. It contains issues that need to be discussed with your attorney. For example, if you are in a vegetative state like Terri Schiavo, what do you want to happen? Do you want feeding tubes or no tubes? A living will can’t be broadly worded or pulled off a shelf. Your attorney needs to know what you think and put it into your living will.
For more information, contact an estate planning attorney at Weems, Schimpf, Haines, Shemwell & Moore (APLC).