It is commonly stated that Louisiana laws are very different from all other states. The generality of that belief may be debatable, but there is no doubt that our inheritance laws are different. Louisiana forces some parents to leave a prescribed portion of their property to certain children, called “forced heirs”. See the wills and estates page of our website for more details on the specifics of the Louisiana forced heirship law.
Because the classification of forced heirs was so appreciably narrowed in 1996, many more Louisiana residents now have the ability to do something they could not do before, that is, leave all of their property, or as much as they want, to their spouse. But the catch is that it must be done in a will. Without a will, the children, not the spouse, of a Louisiana resident will inherit all of the property. So, it bears repeating, all Louisiana residents, with children, that want to give all of their property to their spouse must absolutely have a will.
For 13 additional compelling reasons you need a will, see the illustrated image below.
Having a will is only one element to leaving an uncomplicated estate. See the companion blog, How to Avoid Unnecessarily Complicated Louisiana Estates, for more suggestions on how to best to organize or structure your affairs.