Parents are forced to leave portion of estate to children with bipolar disease

Per three court decisions, children with bipolar disease are “forced heirs”. This is a Louisiana inheritance concept whereby parents are “forced” to leave a part of their estate to certain children. Prior to 1995 all children were forced heirs and were entitled to inherit unless disinherited.

In 1995, forced heirs were redefined and are now:

1.  Any child, including an adopted child, who is under the age of 24 years when the parent dies; and

2.  Any child, including an adopted child, who is permanently unable to take care of himself/herself or or handling his/her affairs due to a permanent mental incapcity or physical infirmity, no matter his/her age.

3. Granchild under certain circumstances.

Consequently, parents can now give all of their property to their surviving spouse so long as there are no forced heirs and it is done by a last will and testament. Prior to 1995 this was not possible, except if there were grounds for disinheriting all children.

Please be aware that when a parent dies without a will, the children of the deceased parent, not the surviving spouse, inherit all of the property.  While the surviving spouse will be granted use of the community property inherited by the children, that can be fraught with problems and/or inconveniences that can simply be avoided with a will, assuming that is the desire of the deceased spouse.

Practical Tips:

1. If you have a child that has been diagnosed with or shows characteristics of bipolar disease, then you need to consult with an attorney about executing a last will and testament. This is only one of many reasons to execute a will.

2. If you have a child with bipolar disease, find out if that child is receiving any type of government assistance. This will be an important consideration in your estate planning.

Visit our website for more information and/or call us for an appointment to discuss these issues in greater detail.


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Lydia J. Alford

Lydia J. Alford

Alford & Alford is a father-daughter law partnership of William C. “Neil” Alford and Lydia J Alford. Over his 43 years of experience, Neil has handled simple and complex, residential and commercial real estate matters. Lydia’s 26 years of experience gives her the ability to offer well-rounded pragmatic solutions to varied civil legal issues.
Lydia J. Alford
Lydia J. Alford

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