Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A
- Construction Law
- Estate Planning
- Gov & Administrative Law
- Landlord Tenant
- Municipal Law
- Business Law
- Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
I usually bill clients by the hour based on the type and complexity of the case.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
- 5th Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University
- J.D. (1984)
- Honors: Chairman, Moot Court Board, Student Editor of La. Coastal Law Newsletter
- Tulane University
- M.A. (1979) | American History, Latin America History, Art History
- Loyola University New Orleans
- B.A. (1977) | History, Chemistry
- Honors: Magna Cum Laude; Honors Program; Cardinal Key
- Louisiana State Bar Association # 16466
- Rotary Club of Amite
- Assitant Governor District 6840
- - Current
- Rotary Club of Amite
10 Questions Answered
- Q. My Siblings and I inherited a small farm from our parents and in 2000 was the last contact I had with my brother
- A: There are ways to ask the court to partition the property. For example, an absent heir can be represented by an attorney appointed by the court to try to contact that person.
- Q. Wife passed with will leaving everything to me in Louisiana. How do I sell the home.
- A: What needs to be done to sell the home depends on the value and whether title to the property is clear of liens and debts. The will must be filed with the court for acceptance (to determine its validity) and If there are no mortgages on the home and no debts of the estate, you could either sell the home while the succession is open or wait until the succession is closed and you are put into possession and sell as the owner. There are other factors to consider, was this community property? is the value of the succession less than $125,000 so the succession would be considered a small succession?
- Q. Ok so my husbands dad whom we lived with and took care of until day he died had a hand written will it was not signed or
- A: Unfortunately, the handwritten will not be accepted by a court. A handwritten will must be dated and signed by the person making the will. However, if your husband has siblings or his dad's spouse is still alive, they may be willing to donate their interest to him. In addition, Louisiana does not usually recognize a claim by a child for taking care of a parent. Such action is considered one of the obligations children owe to their parents and parents owe to their children.
- Q. Does intellectual property go through probate when a person dies?
- A: In general all property owned by the deceased forms part of the estate other than certain financial accounts where a beneficiary or heir is already named (i.e., IRS, life insurance, retirement benefits) I recommend that property be fully described to ensure the judgment of possession will adequately transfer property interests and serve as notice.
- Q. Do the beneficiaries of a living trust have to pay estate taxes?
- A: There are so many variables that may be contained in a living trust that it is difficult to answer. In general, estate tax is imposed on the value of the estate and is owed by the estate rather than the beneficiaries. In addition, you would have to identify what assets are part of the taxable estate and whether the value exceeds the threshold that may apply
- Q. How soon does the probate process start after the person's death? Can we stall?
- A: I recommend that a succession be opened as soon as possible, whether there is a Will to probate or not. Waiting to open a succession rarely improves the issues that may be facing a family. having the Will probated (acknowledged by the court) and having the executor or administrator appointed early prevents many problems such as dealing with creditors, obtaining access to bank accounts and other financial investments, securing property and obtaining appropriate authority to begin identifying assets and debts and contacting heirs and legatees.
- Q. Is it possible to create a revocable living trust (in order to avoid probate) after the person dies?
- A: I am not sure I understand the question. However, presuming the deceased's Will did not create a Trust, the property would be distributed according to the terms of the Will. If the person died intestate (without a will) his property cannot be placed into a trust and the default rules on successions would apply to the distribution. Going through probate in Louisiana is not difficult or expensive unless heirs/legatees fight over valuation and possession. There is no inheritance tax in Louisiana and most simple successions may be closed within a few months.
- Q. Can an heir with higher percentage of ownership in a Louisiana Session force the lower percentage heir or owner to sell?
- A: Louisiana law gives either co owner, regardless of percentage of ownership, the right to seek partition of the property. Depending on the size of the property, this may either be by dividing it or by requiring it to be sold and proceeds split per percentage ownership. The court requires a recent appraisal in order to determine fair market value. Sometimes, the value of the smaller percentage is not equal to the actual ownership percentage but an expert would be required in that case. In general, the court will merely divide the net proceeds (after costs, legal fees, appraisal fees, etc) by percentage interest.
- Q. About 2 years ago my siblings and I did a succession for my deceased parents. What happens if a sibling is deceased?
- A: Usually, a surviving spouse handles the succession of the deceased spouse. If both are deceased, their children open the succession. If there are no children, but surviving siblings, they would usually open the succession. In Louisiana, a creditor may also open a succession if no heir or relative does so and debts are unpaid. And, if there is a Will, the Will may name an executor who would be the logical person to handle the succession.
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