According to a 2020 Estate Planning and Wills study from Caring.com, approximately one-third (32 percent) of Americans have one or more estate planning documents. Of these, only 13 percent have a living trust. Settling the final affairs or distributing the assets of a deceased person’s estate without an estate planning document can be very complicated. Regardless of how small or large your estate may be, having a properly drafted living will or trust is vital to protect your property, loved ones, and avoid the probate process.
If you wish to draft a trust or want to understand how your estate plan will be administered upon your death, it is crucial that you consult with a knowledgeable Louisiana estate planning attorney for proper guidance. At my firm, Robert B. Dunlap Attorney at Law, I am dedicated to offering experienced legal counsel and comprehensive guidance to clients in matters of estate planning, wills, and living trusts. As your legal counsel, I’m available to discuss your unique circumstances and educate you about your estate planning options to help you determine the ideal plan that best suits your needs and those of your loved ones.
The Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap proudly serves clients throughout Shreveport, Mansfield, Bossier City, Minden, and Webster Parish, Louisiana, as well as Marshall, Texas.
A trust is a fiduciary relationship that exists when a person (trustor or guarantor) appoints a third-party (trustee) to handle and manage their final affairs and distribute assets to heirs and beneficiaries upon their death. A trust may include all the estate’s assets, such as real estate property, bank accounts, savings, investments, and business interests.
Additionally, creating a trust can help your estate avoid the probate process (the legal process of transferring your estate) when you are unable to. This will help save your loved ones the time and cost of distributing assets while also keeping things private. When you die, your appointed trustee can step in and administer your estate in accordance with your exact provisions outlined in the trust document.
Yes. Generally, there are two main types of trusts – revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.
A revocable trust (or living trust) is a trust that can be revoked, modified, or altered by the guarantor while they’re alive. The revocable trust allows the guarantor to hold and manage all assets in the trust as long as they’re still able to. At any time, the guarantor can name a successor trustee to take over when necessary.
An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be altered or changed by the guarantor. In an irrevocable trust, the trustor relinquishes control over all assets or properties placed in the trust once it is signed. The trustor transfers the assets to the trust and gives up their legal ownership rights. This will help lower or avoid paying taxes on such assets completely. Also, assets placed in an irrevocable trust are protected from debt collection and lawsuits against the guarantor.
Creating a Trust in Louisiana usually involves the following steps:
Creating a trust in Louisiana will allow you to transfer the assets into the trust to your heirs and beneficiaries without going through probate. However, the trust will only be effective if it was created following all necessary legal requirements. Failure to have a legal counsel guide you in drafting the trust may bring about potential disputes that could invalidate the trust.
Having a trust as part of your estate plan offers the following benefits:
The major benefit of creating a living trust is to bypass the expensive and time-consuming process of probate. With this, your surviving family members can avoid the cost and delays involved in Louisiana probate court proceedings after your pass on.
A trust also makes it possible to keep assets in a trust document until a future date. This means that you can make provisions for minor beneficiaries until they reach a specified age.
Trusts allow the guarantor to choose a successor trustee who will hold and manage their estate and administer any asset distribution to heirs and beneficiaries upon their death.
A living trust allows you to provide adequate protection to your assets and property in the event of mental incapacitation. A trust can also protect certain assets from lawsuits and debt collection against the trustor.
Since a trust bypasses probate, it helps keep things private. Therefore, assets can be transferred to beneficiaries without the publicity of the Louisiana probate court.
It’s never too early or too late to begin planning for the future. In the event that you’re unavailable or unable to voice your wishes, your loved ones will benefit from knowing exactly how you wanted your estate to be handled. A knowledgeable Louisiana trust attorney can help review the unique circumstances of your situation and determine the ideal estate planning option that best suits your demands.
At the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap, I have devoted my career to offering comprehensive legal counsel and guidance to help clients draft important estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, and other important documents. As your legal counsel, I will assess your unique situation and help develop an effective plan that best suits the needs of both you and your family.
Additionally, I will help you understand all of your legal options with regards to your estate plan and determine the best way to transfer your assets, property, investments, and wealth to the beneficiaries and heirs of your choosing. Using my extensive experience, I will diligently guide you through each step of the estate planning process, address your needs and concerns, and help you navigate every key decision along the way. Don’t wait. Call or reach out to my office today to get started.