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Theus Law Offices is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 5 review(s).

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Most people have many questions about estate planning but never make a move to go see an attorney. Before Theus' free seminar I did not even know their were attorneys that specialized in only estate planning. Thank goodness I attended...as I did not even know what asset protection was, even though I had assets. Most people think a written will is fine and pass away thinking that things will be as they wished/stated. Most times that is not the case. I urge you to go Theus Law Offices for consultation. They are friendly and down to earth with your wishes being #1. I cannot say enough good things about them. Now that I have gone to Theus I rest so much easier knowing that my wishes...are going to be held up...just as I wanted...no doubt about it....Thanks to the Theus family !

- Peyton Guillory

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The Theus Law Offices’ Family Estate Planning is a must from my perspective. I had recently lost my dad when I decide to attend the in-person Workshop at the time. My dad and I had attended a similar workshop some four (4) years prior but my dad didn’t elect at the time to move forward. I so wished that he (my dad) had done so because now I am helping my mom go through the Succession/Probate steps with a lawyer currently. If you or your loved ones haven’t made this decision with Estate Planning, I would strongly encourage you to attend this web-based workshop/webinar. Graves Theus is a great attorney to go with for this important step in you and your family’s planning for the future in many, many ways!!!

- Mark Johnson

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The Theus Law Offices’ Family Estate Planning is a must from my perspective. I had recently lost my dad when I decide to attend the in-person Workshop at the time. My dad and I had attended a similar workshop some four (4) years prior but my dad didn’t elect at the time to move forward. I so wished that he (my dad) had done so because now I am helping my mom go through the Succession/Probate steps with a lawyer currently. If you or your loved ones haven’t made this decision with Estate Planning, I would strongly encourage you to attend this web-based workshop/webinar. Graves Theus is a great attorney to go with for this important step in you and your family’s planning for the future in many, many ways!!!

- Mark Johnson

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They are a wonderful Team!

- Jessica Cole

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Estate planning is a complicated process, but my wife and I feel it is valuable and necessary. We started by attending an Estate Planning workshop offered by the Theus Law Offices and led by Jim Theus. That was about the wisest decision we have made in some time. We engaged the services of Theus Law Offices and have benefitted enormously from the direct working relationship with Jim Theus. They did not sign us up and then pass us off to a staff member. We worked with Jim Theus personally. When it was time to work with others of the staff, we found them friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Jim Theus is exceptionally competent and patiently answers questions. His due diligence is admirable. We found their fees for estate planning reasonable and fair. You would be wise to consider using the services of Theus Law Offices if you are interested in estate planning. We are grateful for their help and recommend them to you without reservations. Our loved ones will also be the beneficiaries of a comprehensive plan, as are we. Doyle L Bailey

- Doyle Bailey

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Forced Heirship in Louisiana


25 June, 2017

Louisiana is the only state in the United States which has the concept of forced heirship.
What Is Forced Heirship?
Forced heirship is an ancient civilian concept derived from Roman law. The law of forced heirship provides that certain family members cannot be disinherited.  The law, as originally enacted, provided that any child of a decedent was entitled to a "forced portion" or "legitime." A child deprived of their forced portion could file a claim against the estate.
Who Are Forced Heirs?
The concept of forced heirship has been eroded over the years.  At the present time (June 2017), forced heirs are: (1) children who are under twenty-four (24) years of age at the time of the decedent's death; or (2) children of any age who, because of a mental or physical condition, are permanently incapable of taking care of their person or administering their estate at the time of the decedent's death.  La. Civ. Code art. 1493.
A New Wrinkle
In 2003, the Louisiana legislature, in their infinite wisdom, injected a new level of uncertainty in the law of forced heirship by the adding a new class of forced heirs.  La. Civ. Code art. 1493(E) now (as of June 2017) states that "for purposes of this Article 'permanently incapable of taking care of their persons or administering their estates at the time of the death of the decedent' shall include descendants who, at the time of death of the decedent, have, according to medical documentation, an inherited, incurable disease or condition that may render them incapable of caring for their persons or administering their estates in the future."

Translating this to plain English, a forced heir now includes a child or any age who has an inherited condition that may render them incapable of caring for themselves at some point in this future.  What this means in real terms is anyone's guess.  To date, there are several cases holding that bi-polar disorder is an inherited condition that may render a person incapable of caring for themselves in the future.  

Under current law, an argument could be made that almost any mental or physical condition could render a person a forced heir, including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and alcoholism.  Medical evidence suggests that a person can be genetically predisposed to each of these conditions, which would render such conditions heritable.  If left untreated, even a common medical condition such as high blood pressure could render a person unable to care for themselves.  As such, a credible argument could be made that a person suffering from alcoholism, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or any other inherited medical condition, is a forced heir.  

The open-ended class of forced heirs has spawned a flood of litigation as creative lawyers mount attacks on behalf of disgruntled children. As such, careful planning is necessary to minimize the potential for a forced heirship claim.
How Much Is The Forced Portion? 
If a decedent has one forced heir, the forced portion is one-fourth (1/4) of the estate.  If a decedent has two or more forced heirs, the forced portion is one-half (1/2) of the estate.  

There are a few limitations on the forced portion.  First, a forced heir is not entitled to more than he or she would have received if the decedent had died intestate.  For example, if there are five (5) children, a forced heir would not be entitled to more than one-fifth (1/5) of the estate.  Second, a forced portion can be held in trust or subject to a usufruct in favor of a surviving spouse.  

Life insurance and other retirement benefits paid outside of probate to a forced heir will be credited toward a forced portion.
Can a Grandchild Be A Forced Heir?
Grandchildren can be forced heirs in certain instances.  If a child predeceases a parent but is survived by his or her own children (i.e., grandchildren), such grandchildren are forced heirs if the predeceased child would have been under twenty-four (24) years of age at the time of death of the parent.
Estate Planning With Forced Heirs
Proper planning is critical in the area of forced heirship.  If a forced heir exists, the forced portion may be held in trust to prevent a forced heir from directly accessing such funds.  Because of the current uncertainty in the law that now deems any person a forced heir that has an inherited medical condition that may render them incapable of caring for themselves in the future, it is prudent to include conditional clauses that leave a forced portion in trust, or subject to a spousal usufruct, in the event of an unforeseen claim.

Theus Law Offices specializes in a complete range of estate planning and elder law services, including wills, trusts, probate, successions, estate administration and probate litigation. If you need a Louisiana wills and trusts lawyer or probate attorney in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe, Central Louisiana or elsewhere in Central Louisiana, let our estate planning attorneys and probate lawyers help you.

 

 

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