ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER JOSEPH GREENWALD SHREVEPORT BOSSIER
ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER JOSEPH GREENWALD SHREVEPORT BOSSIER
Estate Planning Lawyer Shreveport, LA
Nobody particularly enjoys the thought of making arrangements for after they pass on, but unfortunately, it is an important and often necessary part of life. It is only fair that you want your hard-earned assets to be appropriately distributed among your family, loved ones, or charities according to your wishes after your death.
A well-thought out estate plan can establish peace and financial security among the ones you love. As a qualified Shreveport estate planning lawyer, Joey Greenwald helps his clients plan not only for post-death asset distribution but also issues of the living. To learn more about our Louisiana estate planning legal services, read on or call us directly at 318-219-7867.
What is Estate Planning?
The fact of the matter is that one day, we will all pass on. It’s simply inevitable. But what happens to all of our earthly possessions when we die? We can’t take it on with us, so where does it go? With a solid estate plan in place, this choice is entirely up to you.
Estate planning is a means to ensure that the things you care most about are given to the people or organizations you care most about. It is essentially a set of instructions that you leave behind indicating what you want to give away, to whom you want to give it, and when they are to receive it. In addition, estate planning also provides you with the opportunity to distribute your assets to selected heirs tax-free while you’re still living.
A successful estate plan should encompass all, if not most, of the following:
- Name a guardian for a minor’s care and inheritance
- Instructions for transfer of your home or business following retirement, disability, incapacity, or death
- Reduce court expenses, legal fees, and taxes by funding assets into a living trust or providing beneficiary designations
- Arrangements for your care or finances following incapacity or death
- Arrangements for disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and life insurance
Estate Planning vs Successions
One of the most common misunderstandings is that estate planning and succession planning are the same thing. While the two are similar in nature, succession planning in Louisiana pertains more to the business side of things. It is this plan that will allow business relations to continue to run smoothly and successfully when future generations inherit it. Strong succession plans are critical to a business’s long-term viability.
Estate planning, on the other hand, concerns an individual’s personal assets when they pass away or otherwise become incapacitated. It also involves minimizing exposure to taxes and other kinds of liability while avoiding as much as the lengthy probate process as possible. (See our blog: How Long Does Probate Take?)
In summary, succession planning covers the management of business assets while estate planning covers the ownership of personal assets. To better understand probate and successions in Louisiana, consult with one of our Shreveport successions attorneys today.
What Legally Qualifies as Your Estate?
Now that you’re familiar with the process of estate planning, we should probably answer the general question of “What is an estate?” Under estate law, there are three categories that define an estate. They include:
- Gross Estate – large items that determine your net worth (houses, buildings, property, land, businesses, investments, bank accounts, retirement, pensions and life insurance).
- Residue Estate – personal property (vehicles, furniture, jewelry, clothes, equipment or any items typically found in your home).
- Estate Debt – includes debts and financial obligations owed to individuals.
Succession Laws in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, succession (or probate) is necessary when there is no other means to transfer assets from a decedent to their heirs. This is true when someone dies either testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will). However, by establishing a revocable or living trust, one may avoid the probate process for non-beneficiary designated assets. With a trust in place, any assets held in the name of the trust transfer straight to the trust beneficiaries without going through probate.
Succession laws in Louisiana are quite different from other state’s laws. Therefore, it’s critical that you obtain the help of a skilled Louisiana estate planning lawyer to ensure your wishes are properly carried out following your death.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
We cannot stress enough the importance of estate planning. A good estate plan may operate as a safety net, preserving the value of your assets, reducing distribution timelines, and ensuring the legacy you intended is carried out. By creating a written plan that determines what will happen to your possessions after your passing, you can make sure your wishes are legally documented and therefore enforceable. It is also beneficial in alleviating the stress that your family and loved ones might be left with in the case they would have to make these decisions on their own.
With so many ways to accomplish a valid estate plan, the assistance of a qualified Shreveport estate planning lawyer is essential. Fortunately, seasoned attorney Joseph Greenwald is well-qualified to guide you through the many complex aspects of estate planning.
When to Start Estate Planning
Financial experts and attorneys alike both advise starting an estate plan as soon as you become a legal adult. You’ll often hear them say “the sooner, the better” when it comes to beginning your estate planning affairs. This is because, as an adult, you are now accountable for things like your money, healthcare, and power of attorney, and you want to make sure everything is in order.
If you already have an estate plan but new or recent events in your life have occurred, you may want to review it and consider changing how your assets will be distributed and managed. Such life events may include a recent marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, or care of an elderly or disabled loved one, among other circumstances. As a result, we recommend revisiting and appropriately revising your estate plan every 3-5 years after its initial creation.
How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney
The entire point of an estate plan is to avoid running into any legal issues in the future. With that being said, if you don’t have a good estate planning attorney on your side, it may complicate things even further and defeat the entire purpose of a solid plan. Due to the significance of this issue, it’s important that you choose a qualified attorney who knows the intricacies of the estate planning process and has your best interests at heart.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself when choosing an estate planning attorney:
- Do they have an in-depth understanding of this area?
- Do they specialize in the field of estate planning law?
- Are they within your price range?
- Do they ask YOU questions?
- Do they have good reviews and referrals?
- What do the outcomes of their previous cases look like?
Above all, you want to find someone who has a depth of knowledge and experience in this area as well as someone you feel comfortable working with. To see if Joey Greenwald is the right fit for you, schedule an appointment to speak with him right away.
Contact Greenwald Law Firm in Shreveport, Louisiana Today to Create or Modify A Solid Estate Plan
Attorney Joey Greenwald, located in Shreveport, Louisiana, is dedicated to creating an estate plan that will protect your assets, ensure they are managed and distributed as you specify, protect you financially and medically while you’re alive, and reduce heirs’ tax obligations while facilitating harmony among your loved ones after you are gone. With a lifetime of hard work and responsible money management as your legacy, you can rest assured that the fruits of your labor will be passed on in exactly the way you desire.
Review your assets and discuss your goals towards managing your estate both pre- and post-death exactly the way you want by reaching out to Greenwald Law Firm today. For a free, confidential meeting with a Shreveport estate planning lawyer, call 318-219-7867 or click the “Get Help Now” button below and fill out our online intake form. We look forward to assisting you with all of your estate planning and succession needs.