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Plan ahead to keep your property out of the succession process

Many estates in Louisiana have to go through succession, commonly known in other states as probate. Different situations can trigger that type of oversight. If someone dies without a will, the courts can assist with applying intestate succession laws.

Even when someone leaves behind clear instructions about what to do with their property, oversight may be necessary while settling their affairs and distributing their assets. Typically, estates with property worth $75,000 or more will require supervision by the courts.

However, testators thinking about their legacy can plan ahead to avoid succession court. Creating and funding a trust is a popular means of eliminating succession requirements in Louisiana.

How do trusts help?

Your estate consists of all of your belongings and debt at the time of your death. Some of those belongings are separate property, although you may share ownership of some assets with other people. Homes are a perfect example of jointly owned property, although financial accounts can also have multiple owners.

The total value of your assets will determine if succession oversight is necessary. Even a basic house is worth enough to force the estate through succession proceedings. Thankfully, transferring assets out of your name and using them to fund a trust means they don’t need to pass through succession.

You could move your home into a trust, as well as any other significant belongings, like savings accounts and retirement funds. In some cases, you can even arrange for particular property to transfer into the trust at your death. Since those assets belong to the trust and not to you, they aren’t part of your estate. Anything worth more than $75,000 or that you think your family members might fight over after your death could become trust property to avoid estate complications.

Advanced planning maximizes what you leave behind

Succession proceedings can consume a portion of your estate’s total value in court costs and other fees. By planning ahead to keep your property out of the succession process, you can avoid losing any estate property to succession expenses and thereby maximize what your loved ones receive from your estate.

Creating and funding trust can be an essential step for those who hope to help their loved ones avoid succession after they die.