Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Estate planning complications in blended families

Blended families may face some complicated emotional and legal issues when it comes to estate planning. For example, some adult children in Louisiana might wonder what may happen if a parent decides to leave an entire estate to a stepparent and whether they would be able to inherit any assets.

If a person dies without a will, state law determines how the person's assets are divided. However, in general, a person who does have a will can choose what happens to the assets. This could include leaving everything to a stepparent, who would then be permitted to pass the inheritance on to a charity, other family members or anyone else. Children who are concerned about a parent's plans for assets may want to try to discuss the issue with the parent although it can be a difficult conversation. It is important for the children to avoid framing the conversation as though they only care what happens to the money or do not care what happens to the stepparent in the event of the other parent's death.

Are you worried about heirs blowing through their money?

Not every parent or grandparent is in the position to leave a hefty chunk of change to their offspring. But those who are so fortunate may have concerns about how the sudden windfall may negatively impact their loved ones.

That's an understandable concern. While your time here will have passed by the time that your heirs access any funds left to them, you certainly don't want to contribute to their downfall in any way. But the good news is that there is a way to prevent such problems from occurring.

Your effort to support business relationships may reduce conflict

Business relationships can be complicated at times despite your best efforts to establish boundaries and mutual agreements from the start. Reducing the chances that conflict occurs is something that you can do when you actively support and strengthen the relationships you have with other industry professionals in Louisiana. At Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, we are familiar with the challenges of maintaining professional relationships and have been able to help many businesses in their endeavors to create and grow beneficial partnerships. 

A mutually beneficial relationship is one where you and another business professional are able to create an arrangement where both parties are able to work together to optimize each other's resources, provide valuable support and advice, and celebrate each other's successes. Developing relationships of this kind require you to spend time discussing concerns, negotiating terms assessing the effectiveness of those terms and listening to each other. 

Articulating thoughts and desires clearly in a written will

People who take adequate time to write a will that effectively outlines their desires should anything happen to them, may feel a resounding peace of mind with the surety that their legally signed document will provide their surviving family members with direction and clarification. For individuals seeking to write their own will in Louisiana, they can benefit from recognizing the value of keeping their content understandable and organized. 

Having a will itself is an excellent place for people to begin, but once they have drafted their thoughts on paper, it is critical that they spend time organizing the information to address the most important aspects at the forefront with the remainder of the details coming afterward. Additionally, their family will be appreciative when the content allows them to have clarity in how certain decisions should be made in regards to who should receive what. 

People who prepare for death can protect their loved ones

Many people wonder how planning for death is a productive thing to do. However, the people that actually do it and factor in decisions such as what will happen to their assets, who will close out important financial accounts for them, what will happen to their home and how any dependents will be cared for, can compile their thoughts in an estate plan. When properly coordinated, a legally signed estate plan in Louisiana is an excellent way for people to protect their surviving loved ones and to have peace of mind. 

There are many factors that may not appear complicated until a person dies and their surviving family members are left to figure things out on their own. Even big-name celebrities have made the mistake of failing to plan for their future and when they pass away, the fate of things that were important to them is left in the hands of the state to decide. If people lack to plan ahead, their family members may disagree vehemently on whether or not their deceased family member should be cremated or buried among a host of other things. 

How can you protect yourself during the construction of a home?

Building a new home in Louisiana is an exciting endeavor and one that can allow you to use your creativity and imagination to create a house that is perfectly suited for your family. To build a home that will provide shelter, safety and an environment for your family to gather and make memories, is going to require the workmanship and skill of various professionals. With the right people doing the work on your home, you can have confidence in its quality, durability and reliability. 

In hiring and working with construction professionals across industries such as electrical, plumbing, framing and roofing, it is critical that you enforce your expectations through the use of a contractual agreement. Working without one is an extreme risk to you and to the people you hire. A poorly written contract or one that does not address the unique characteristics of your home and its construction, may not be able to provide adequate legal protection for you if there is a disagreement between you and the other party. 

What is a health proxy?

When thinking about the future, many people in Louisiana will often make financial decisions and name the beneficiaries of property and money, but not as many make decisions relating to their own healthcare. A health proxy is helpful in the event someone becomes unable to make important medical decisions, and it ensures family members and medical teams follow their wishes.

According to Investopedia, a health proxy is a legal document that names an appointee who will make healthcare decisions if an individual is unable to do so. This proxy goes into effect in a number of situations, such as when one is in a coma, has serious injuries or is gravely ill. Without this directive, family members would need to make decisions, and these may not be what the patient wants and/or the family may not agree about all choices. A proxy can be simple to prepare, but the patient should take the time to have important discussions with medical providers and trusted individuals about life-saving considerations.

Protect your business from getting sued

For business owners in Louisiana, a lawsuit can be costly, both financially and timewise. To avoid this stress, there are proactive things owners can do to help prevent someone from suing them.

According to Inc, employees are often the ones who bring forth a lawsuit. One reason is for discrimination. Business owners must understand the federal and state laws in regard to hiring, firing and giving promotions. One must not discriminate against someone based on:

  • Gender or sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Race or national origin
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy status 

How do you change zoning in Baton Rouge?

One of the central concerns in commercial real estate law in Louisiana is zoning. In Baton Rouge, these regulations affect city, the parish and, of course, the individuals and companies that own the land. 

If you are interested in changing the zoning of a parcel property, you could encounter resistance at certain stages. Not all proposed developments are popular among local communities, and these groups, sometimes represented by resourceful, organized home-owners associations, occasionally have the grounds to pursue legal claims against developers who attempt to change zoning in and around their areas.

What are the primary advantages of trusts?

You worked hard over the years to leave a lasting legacy behind for those you hold dear, and now you want to see that as much of your fortune as possible goes to your Louisiana loved ones after your passing. While there are many different things you can do as you work on your estate plan to accomplish this objective, one popular way many people do so is by establishing trusts.

Per CNN Money, trusts come in a number of different types, and most types of trusts have different benefits and drawbacks associated with them. When you establish a trust, though, you will need to retitle any assets you wish to store therein in the name of the trust if you want those assets to effectively bypass the probate process.

Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
11777 Justice Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Toll Free: 888-680-3843
Phone: 225-754-9864
Fax: 225-296-5778
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