According to a 2020 Estate Planning and Wills study from Caring.com, only 32% of American adults have a will, trust, or estate plan in place. Without an estate plan, settling your final affairs or distributing assets to beneficiaries and heirs can be a significant challenge placed upon your loved ones after you pass. Regardless of how big or small your estate is or how straightforward your end of life care may seem, having a properly drafted estate planning document is crucial to protect your assets and help you prepare for life’s uncertainties.
If you are considering drafting an estate plan or want to understand how it works, it is important to consult with an experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney for detailed guidance. The Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap is committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy to clients in estate-planning related matters, including wills, living trusts, probate, special needs planning, and advanced care directives. I’m available to discuss your unique situation, help you understand your estate planning options, and guide you through the entire process step by step.
The Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap is proud to serve clients throughout Shreveport, Minden, Bossier City, Mansfield, and Webster Parish, Louisiana, as well as Marshall, Texas.
Estate planning can be described as the process of determining who will receive your assets and how they will be transferred to beneficiaries upon your death or sudden incapacitation. Estate planning is important for a number of different reasons. An adequate estate plan can help you:
Some documents that may be included in an estate plan include:
A will is a legal document that holds specific instructions concerning how your property should be disposed of or transferred to your beneficiaries upon death. Also, a will allows you to name a guardian to care for your children (if necessary) and manage any assets that you intend to leave behind for them.
A trust is a fiduciary relationship whereby you appoint an individual to handle your final affairs upon your death and transfer assets to any beneficiaries or heirs. Following your death or sudden incapacitation, the appointed trustee can intervene and begin administering the estate in accordance with the provisions outlined by the trust you have created.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives a person of your choosing — such as a trusted family member, advisor, lawyer, or friend — the power to act on your behalf for legal and financial matters upon your death.
An advance healthcare directive is a legal document whereby an individual specifies what actions should be taken for their health when they are unable to make decisions for themselves due to a sudden illness, disability, or incapacitation.
Special needs planning or a special needs trust is a fiduciary relationship that allows you to appoint a trusted person to manage the funds and assets that you choose to leave behind for a child or adult who may not be able to otherwise manage the funds or assets themselves due to a disability. Through special needs planning, you can preserve the beneficiary’s eligibility for public benefits, housing, and other programs.
The personal property memorandum is a legal document that allows a person to gift tangible personal property items such as jewelry, furniture, artwork, and other belongings not covered in their will.
A letter of intent is a letter written to convey your wishes for things you hope will be done upon your death. You can write a letter for requests, instructions, financial information, and other important confidential information not included in your Will or trust.
When preparing an estate plan, it’s always a good idea to set aside certain documents so that your loved ones can easily access the information they need to carry out your wishes. To make a list for your surviving loved ones to find all of the items you have prepared you’ll want to include documents for:
Most individuals are not eager to begin the process of estate planning. I always try to remind my clients that it’s never too early or too late to prepare for life’s uncertainties and strategize for the future. In the event that you are unable or unavailable to voice your opinion, your family members will have peace of mind knowing your exact wishes. An experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney can help you choose the options that best suits your needs so that you can protect what matters most.
I have devoted my entire career to providing experienced legal services and assisting clients through the complicated estate planning process. As your legal counsel, I will help you understand your options and decide the right estate plan that is best for you and your loved ones. With my extensive experience and resources at my disposal, I can successfully walk you through the entire estate planning process from start to finish and answer any questions you have along the way.