In Louisiana, you have the right to create your estate plans that outline what happens to your assets upon your death. You can decide which heirs get what assets. You can make all the decisions. When you die, as long as you have legal plans, the court upholds your estate and ensures the proper distribution of your assets. However, there is one situation where your wishes may not come to fruition.

You may have a forced heir, which according to the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs, is a child of yours who is either under the age of 24 or who is permanently unable to care for him or herself. If you have an heir who falls into this category, he or she has automatically entitlement to a portion of your estate regardless of what your estate plans say. You nor anyone else can stop a forced heir from receiving what is rightfully his or hers under the law. The idea is to provide for an heir who may still have a dependence on you.

You can plan for a forced heir to ensure he or she is not just given the assets if you feel he or she cannot properly manage them. If you are married, you may leave a lifetime usufruct to your spouse. A usufruct gives your spouse the right to use the assets even though they will be owned by your forced heir. This allows your spouse to manage the assets. This information is for education is not legal advice.