Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Baton Rouge Business & Commercial Law Blog

Finding help with decision making when family is obsolete

There is a lot of information out there to help people plan for their future when they are coordinating an estate plan. Often, this information focuses on recruiting family and friends to provide support when the time comes that independent decision making is no longer an option. However, what about the people in Louisiana who for whatever reason lack the support or availability of their family? Finding reliable help in preparation for the times when they become incapacitated and are no longer able to manage their health and finances is still critical. 

In these cases, the title of the person that would be hired to take on the role of what an executor or trustee would be doing if the family were around, is called a fiduciary. The process of recruiting and informing a fiduciary of concerns, unique circumstances and personal requests is a process that will take time and should be regularly revisited to ensure that both parties are on the same page. 

How can you keep your Louisiana business out of probate?

When someone dies without a last will or estate plan, their assets will usually have to go through probate court. Even individuals who have carefully planned for the distribution of their assets when they die can still have their estates wind up in probate court.

Irregularities with the last will, legal issues with the state plan or a challenge brought by family members or beneficiaries can all lead to an estate going through probate unnecessarily. The larger and more complex your estate, the more likely it becomes that issues or objections will arise after you die.

Deciding what to include in an estate plan that works for you

Estate planning can be tricky when you take a step back and look at all of your options with no real idea of what to do or where to begin. At Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, we have been able to help many families in Louisiana with their efforts to create a customized plan that fits their needs and works with their lifestyle and end of life desires. 

No two estate plans are going to be identical. Your family situation and all of the fine details surrounding its creation and operation are going to impact which strategies you use to plan for your future. Ignoring those unique factors and making an estate plan that is general in nature, maybe better than having nothing at all, but not as effective as if you had spent the time to create something customized. In fact, you may end up losing some of the things that are important to you if you overlooked their destiny when you were creating your original estate plan. 

Protecting a company's assets by implementing succession planning

A primary area of concern for many successful businesses in Louisiana is what can be done to protect the assets they have worked so hard to accumulate and preserve. Often, the answer is a collection of resources that contributes to preventing hazardous situations from destroying their wealth. These resources can include people like attorneys, processes like cybersecurity and even strategies like succession planning. 

When a company has trained and raised invaluable leaders to stand at the forefront of their operation, it can be disheartening to think of what would happen if one of them experienced a personal tragedy or death that disabled them from continuing to work in their position. Planning ahead for these kinds of circumstances is what succession planning is all about. Company leaders are vigilant in noticing employees who have the potential to function as notable leaders, who exemplify the characteristics of the company and who demonstrate loyalty to the business that is paramount to success. 

Lousiana's unique legal heritage

Those familiar with the way that the law works in other states may find some differences when they look at Louisiana legal structures. This is especially true when it comes to civil matters, such as contract law.

The reason: Louisiana judges in some areas of the law may use a slightly different tradition. Please read on for a brief discussion of how this could affect a contract law case.

Do you need to probate estates in Louisiana?

Over the years, it is natural for families to spread out, sometimes across multiple States. However, if your loved ones recently left an estate in Louisiana, you may have to deal with the local laws here in addition to or in place of the laws of the jurisdiction in which you live. 

Laws in Louisiana could be similar to your state. However, it is likely that there are at least some differences some of which could make a significant difference in the distribution of the estate. Please read on for a brief description of some key points someone out-of-state my face when dealing with a Louisiana will.

Understanding probate's value for you

Probate gets a bad rap sometimes, but the truth is it is actually quite beneficial for you, especially when leveraged the right way. The sooner you begin planning your estate and the more detailed you are about your plans, the less involved the courts will have to get in making sure that your estate is distributed as you desire. At Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, we are experienced in helping people in Louisiana with their estate planning efforts. 

As more services are becoming available online, you can find several options for creating and finalizing a will on your own. While this option is undoubtedly more effective than doing nothing at all, there is considerable value in utilizing a professional to help you make sure nothing is missing and that your documents are legally legitimate. According to Centier Bank, avoiding costly probate intervention after you pass away is a goal that you can effectively achieve as you proactively coordinate and maintain a well-written estate plan. Some of the important things to keep in mind include the following:

  • Update your beneficiaries if they change, if they are now adults and no longer minors, if new family members are born and if marriages or divorces take place. 
  • Think digitally and keep important information about your passwords and online assets in a place that is secure, but accessible for those who will need it after you pass away. 
  • Coordinate your beneficiary designations and updates between your will, any retirement accounts and life insurance policies.  

Creating a workplace where respect is the precedence

Going to work each day is a mundane part of life for many people in Louisiana. For lots of people, commuting the same roads, talking to the same people and completing the same tasks can get boring and dull. However, when people are part of an organization where they feel respected, appreciated and important can make a considerable difference in the motivation they feel to go to work, their productivity and their overall morale. 

Designing a workplace and implementing a culture where respect is the precedence is a task that requires organizational leaders to think strategically about ways that they can infuse their culture with the characteristics that are becoming of the values they wish to have their employees exemplify. According to smallbusiness.chron.com, one way that leaders can instill respect and encourage others to behave the same is to listen intently to people when they are talking, express interest in what is being said and provide meaningful feedback that demonstrates they were listening. They should also pay considerable attention to creating and enforcing policies that clearly define the consequences for poor behavior. 

How do you remove a lien on a property?

Liens, when contractors use them legitimately, are supposed to provide a way for workers to ensure payment for goods or services they provided you. Flood repair, home improvement and renovations could all generate valid liens on your property. However, you may have a lien for other reasons, such as unscrupulous contracting that leads to subcontractors left unpaid. Even if you pay your contractor in full, a lien could still be valid.

The solution to your problem would probably depend on the details of your case. Due to the complex rules laid out in the Louisiana statutes, some liens are technically invalid from the very beginning. They simply do not meet all of the legal requirements. Others are legal but stem from fraudulent practices. Therefore, the question of whether or not you could get a lien off your property in Louisiana — or secure payment from the person responsible — could have a complicated answer. There are a variety of methods available to potentially lift a lien, all falling into two categories: voluntary and involuntary.

Your ally against contractor scams

Do not feel bad if you were burned by a fraudulent contractor. Believe it or not, you are in good company — many of your South Central Louisiana neighbors have been scammed in the same way. 

According to the local chapter of the BBB, via the West Side Journal over in Port Allen, contractor fraud is the biggest scamming problem in the region aside from phone scams. At the office of Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, we believe that anyone who takes advantage of those in need deserves to pay back what they have taken — in full. 

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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