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Louisiana probate: The time to prepare an estate plan is now

No one really wants to spend time thinking about end-of-life matters, or what would happen to themselves or their families if they were to become incapacitated. So, many people in Louisiana and elsewhere put it off until later in life or until it is too late altogether. There is no one perfect time to create an estate plan. The time to prepare an estate plan is now, no matter what stage of adulthood one is in.

If everyone understood what an estate plan actually does, they would realize that having one now is far better than putting it off until retirement. This plan does not just offer asset protection in the event of one's death. It also provides family protections and personal security as well.

For young adults who are not yet married or have children, protecting assets may not be a top priority. In one's early to late 20's, personal protection in the event of incapacitation may be the goal. Not only will an estate plan ensure any assets one does have are passed on to the right people, but it will also include the documents needed -- such as a durable power of attorney -- to designate a personal representative. This individual will have the ability to make health care and, if desired, financial decisions in the event one is no longer able to do so.

For those who are married, with or without minor children, a will or trust can protect assets. A durable POA and advance directive can protect oneself in the case of incapacitation. Beneficiary designations can ensure specific property goes to the right people. Finally, guardians can be named to take care of minor children.

For those entering or currently in their golden years, a will is usually a good thing to have. A trust may also be desired for asset and tax protections. Finally, one will want to ensure beneficiary designations are up-to-date, and POAs and advance directives are in order.

No matter when one puts together an estate plan, making sure it is up-to-date every few years is a must. An experienced attorney can assist Louisiana residents create estate plans that work for their needs now. Further assistance can be offered to modify these plans as the need arises.

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