WILLS, LIVING WILLS & POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Drawing up your will is important because it gives you a say in where your assets will go and who will be legal guardians to your children, should you pass away.  A will is a legal declaration that transfers ownership of your property to one or more people when you die.  To draw up your will, you will need to begin making an inventory of your assets, including: your bank accounts, savings, investments, insurance policies, retirement plans and real estate holdings, among other things.

You will also need to select an executor, usually a family member or someone you trust.  This will be the person responsible for distributing your assets according to your will, and managing your property and assets until they can be distributed.  You  may also want to consider drawing up a living will, a medical power of attorney and/or a financial power of attorney. 

Title 40 of the Louisiana Public Health and Safety Code allows you as a citizen the right to make a living will declaration, also known as an advance health care directive.  A living will typically will detail what types of medical treatment you would want to receive; under what conditions you would want this treatment; and who will have your decision-making power for anything not covered under your living will.  In a medical power of attorney, you are selecting a person you authorize to make decisions regarding your health care when you can no longer make reasoned decisions about how you want to be treated.  A financial power of attorney pertains to decisions regarding paying expenses and administering your assets after your death or after you have become incapacitated.   It is important to select people for these duties whom you trust, but who also have the necessary administrative skills to carry out these duties.

LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE'S WILL REGISTRY PROGRAM

My services include the use of the Louisiana Secretary of State's (SOS) Will Registry Program. As directed by the Legislature (R.S. 9:2446-7), the SOS maintains a Will Registry wherein a testator or his attorney may register a Will Registration form that contains information concerning the location of the testator's last will and testament, or the name and address of an attorney or other person having information regarding the place of deposit or safekeeping of the testator's last will and testament. Please note that the actual will itself is not filed in any SOS Office. The Will Registration forms are strictly confidential until the death of the testator; then the SOS will provide a copy to anyone who presents a death certificate, affidavit of death and heirship, or other satisfactory evidence of the testator's death.


 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS FOR AGING PARENTS

ON THEIR FINANCES

  • Do you have a will?
  • Have you consulted with a reliable financial planner who can help anticipate your needs as you age?
  • Will you give me or another trusted person power of attorney over your financial affairs in case there's a time you can't handle them yourself?
  • Do you have an authorized user on your bank and investment accounts?
  • Do you need help handling some of your financial responsibilities, like double-checking your credit card statements and reviewing your bills?
  • Are you willing to have a joint checking account with me so I can help you pay bills if necessary?

ON THEIR LIVING SITUATION

  • Have you thought about long-term care insurance?
  • Do you want to live in your house for as long as possible?
  • Are there things we need to do to your house so it's safe and comfortable for you as you age?
  • Can we make some of those changes now?
  • Are you willing to move into a smaller place that's easier to manage, like a condo? When?
  • Have either of you thought about whether you would want to stay in the house if you were alone?
  • Would you be willing to hire someone to help you at home if you can't do it on your own anymore?
  • Would you consider moving in with me or one of my siblings if we can all agree that you need help with your personal care or aren't safe at home alone anymore?
  • How do you feel about moving into an assisted-living facility?
  • Can I help you scout out quality assisted-living facilities and nursing homes now, so we know what's available and what you would prefer in case you need one in the future?

ON THEIR HEALTH

  • Do you have advance health-care directives? 
  • Will you consider giving your doctor permission to talk to us in case we have questions about your medical treatment?
  • Can one of us accompany you to some doctor's appointments? We recognize your right to privacy, but maybe we can help keep track of everything your doctor says at your visit.
  • How do you feel about being kept alive with ventilators, feeding tubes, or other interventions? And under what circumstances would you want that? Do we all understand what these terms mean?
  • If you have advance-care planning documents, where do you keep them? Have you shared them with any family members, doctors, or clergy?

DIVORCE/CHILD CUSTODY

The decision to end a marriage can be upsetting and filled with a number of opposing emotions. Though common in the U.S. (fifty percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce), each divorce is unique and usually an emotional and painful process for all of the parties involved. During and after a divorce, you might experience feelings of loss, anger, depression, rejection, shock, regret, doubt, guilt, betrayal, bitterness or fear. Seeing a therapist can really help an individual to manage these and other tough feelings. Therapy is also beneficial for children experiencing divorce. Children often feel a strong sense of loss in the aftermath of a divorce and a licensed mental health professional can help them cope in healthy way.[1] Let our firm guide you through the process. We will advocate for you until we reach a desirable outcome.

Louisiana law requires that courts look to the "best interest of the child" when deciding when and how to award child custody and visitation. Our firm is experienced in obtaining satisfactory results. Having successfully defended at the appeals court level, we are knowledgeable about state laws and skilled at litigating before the courts. Our list of satisfied and happy clients is ever-growing. Select a firm that is accomplished and keeps pace with the fast-changing laws.

[1] Taken from http://www.portlandtherapycenter.com/psychological-terms/divorce. 

9655 Perkins Road, Suite C,  Baton Rouge, LA 70810                                Phone: (225) 372-8092     Fax: (225) 372-8093      info@lhenrylaw.com