Key Items for Your Estate Plan WRITTEN BY CHRISTIE TOURNET
ESTATE PLANNING DOES
not have to be complex, but proper planning involves more than your will. For example, a properly drafted durable power of attorney could become your most valuable estate-planning tool during your lifetime. It allows you to avoid interdiction, should you later have a disability or injury that results in loss of capacity. Because interdiction can be incredibly stressful, timeconsuming, and costly, avoidance is reason enough to incorporate this tool. However, the document also permits another trusted person to act on your behalf, in the event of an absence or other disability. Also, while probate often has a negative connotation, it is largely undeserved. There is nothing wrong with “probating” an estate and “probate avoidance” need not be an over-riding concern. Rather, probate is the process for transferring title of assets to heirs/beneficiaries. In Louisiana, this can be a very streamlined and affordable process. Thus, it is more important to set the stage for probate and handle it correctly than to try and avoid it all together. A properly drafted will is instrumental here. When completing your estate plan, also confirm you have the correct beneficiaries listed for business interests and nonprobate assets. A complete business plan should provide accommodations for shareholder disability and death. And, regardless of whether you have ownership in a business or not, you should also ensure you have the correct beneficiaries named on life insurance and retirement policies. A good rule-of-thumb is to name individuals and alternates. These few basic tools can provide great peace of mind to you and your family.
Christie Tournet & Associates, LLC, provides estate planning, estate administration and commercial law services. The practice is located at 1795 W. Causeway Approach, Suite 103A in Mandeville. 985-951-2177, tournetlaw.com. 8
Sophisticated Woman | September 2017