What to do about Wills to protect spouses?

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What to do about Wills to protect spouses?

My spouse and I live in Louisiana and we want to leave everything we own to each other and not to our children. However, we just found out that you can’t

disinherit children in LA. Are there any alternatives so that if I die my spouse can use, sell, or do whatever he wants with everything I own and vice versa?

Asked on June 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot disinherit your children in LA if they are 23 or younger. If they are 24 or over, you may disinherit them. So if you children are already 24 or will shortly be 24, you don't need to worrry.
Even when your children are 23 or younger, they don't get the whole estate: a single child would get 1/4 of the estate; two or more children would get 1/2 the estate. Depending on how large an estate you anticipate, this may not be worth worrying about.
And if the children are minors, the surviving spouse would have to care for them anyway, so he/she would be using what he/she inherits to support the children; therefore, the fact that the state law leaves the children part of the estate may not be a large issue.
If despite the above information, you do want to make sure that children under age 23 get as little as possible, consult with LA trusts and estates attorney--there are ways to structure what you own, such as with trusts, to minimize what goes to the children. But those things are complex to do right--you need a lawyer's help. If the amount of money or other assets at stake does not justify the cost of an attorney, it is unlikely to be worthwhile being concerned about inheritance.


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