Questions Answered by Christie Tournet

Q: Can a surviving spouse claim full ownership of home and sell or donate it if there is no will for deceased partner, La.?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Mar 25, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
Depends on several factors - was the home community property and did Decedent have children? Even if the home was community property and the Decedent had children, then, under LA default, intestacy law, the children inherit the decedent's former half interest in the community property, but subject to a legal usufruct in favor of the surviving spouse. Still, it is not the same as the surviving spouse being put in "full ownership." If there are no children, then, the surviving spouse may...

Q: My mother is hospitalized and medically incapacitated. Can I establish a conservatorship/guardianship on here behalf?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Feb 20, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
Yes. It is called an interdiction and is still a civil suit. But, if you can provide medical evidence/affidavits as to condition and all of the heirs - spouse and children are in agreement, it can make the process much more smooth, especially for your mom, who will be the Defendant. The court will ultimately make a decision on whether to strip your mother of her rights to contract and make decisions for herself. The court does not take that decision lightly and will want to not only review...

Q: My father passed away in 2010. He was married. He purchased a home in 1992 when he wasn't married. what are my rights

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Feb 14, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
Any interested party can open a succession. You are a descendant and therefore, can open succession. In opening succession, you can request that the court issue an Order for a search of the Will. Of course, it is always easier and less costly, if all parties cooperate and if there is a Will, have it presented to a court. If there is a valid Will, then, your father's property will be transferred in accord with its terms. If there is no Will, then, separate property (property purchased...

Q: Can heirs file an Affidavit of Heirship in Louisiana instead of a Small Estate Affidavit?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Feb 7, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
An affidavit of heirship is an OMV form used only for transfer of titled vehicles. To transfer title from a Decedent to rightful heirs, you must do a succession in some form. If neither had a Will, and the value of each estate is under $125k, you can do the Affidavit of Small Succession. However, it must meet statutory form requirements and you will need to discuss your circumstances with an attorney well versed in probate to confirm that you can proceed that route. Both separate and...

Q: How can I get a copy of my father's will? Stepmother has tried to change it right before her death.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Jan 30, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
Any interested party can open succession. Since your father is the decedent, you can open and request that the court order a search for the Will, or that you be appointed the succession rep until a Will is produced. You need to contact counsel well versed in probate to better discuss your specific circumstances and to obtain a more precise recommendation for proceeding/

Q: How do I prove to an outside party, such as a bank, that I am named as executrix of a Louisiana handwritten will?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Jan 10, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
You have to probate the Will/open succession. You can either be appointed Executrix, if administration is necessary. Or, if you meet the requirements, you may not have to administer the estate.

Q: How do I report a notary for not filing my father's will at the court house?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Civil Litigation and Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Jan 10, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
Wills are not filed in the public record. And, a notary has no obligation to file a Will - anywhere. To the contrary, the Will should be provided to the Testator and it is up to the Testator to determine if he/she wishes to provide access/copies of the Will. Also, a notary/attorney may be willing to provide the Will to a beneficiary. Otherwise, any interested person can file to open succession and obtain an order to search for a Will. As a child, you are an interested person and could...

Q: Louisiana - Stepfather dies without will. Mom resides in home that was gifted to stepfather. Succession?

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Jan 3, 2019
Christie Tournet's answer
Because the Decedent did not have a Will and it appears the value of the estate is under $125k, a small succession affidavit can be done with an attorney. However, the Decedent's children will stand to inherit, as it appears the land/home was the Decedent's separate property. Potential leverage is that the mom may have a reimbursement claim; may have been keeping up most repairs/expenses. If all agree to do the succession, an Act of Donation (or sale) to the mom could also be done, but of...

Q: I have a question about Louisiana probate law and succession.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Dec 21, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors still requiring answers and too much time may have already passed. First, if the father passed back in 1954, succession was likely opened long ago. If there was a testament, the prescriptive period to contest a Judgment probating a testament is 5 years. Then, if you thought any ill practice/fraud occurred, the time period to annul a Judgment after the discovery of the wrong is only 1 year. Thus, those timelines may have passed. In addition, would...

Q: Can a woman with Alzheimer's give power of attorney over herself to a person who is incapacitated in a hospital?

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Dec 18, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
Capacity does not require that a person be lucid all the time. Rather, people with dementia, alzheimer's, stroke, etc. may still have periods of capacity/understanding (lucid intervals) at the time of entering the contract. And, yes, a person can also give another, with limited capacity, the authority to act on his/her behalf, but the acts the agent can do is limited to the person's capacity. This is a very fact intensive query in these sort of situations. You will likely have to call...

Q: Sue and Joe are married ..Joe has 6 children from his first marriage and Sue has 2 children from her first marriage...

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Dec 10, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
With community property, each spouse owns an undivided half interest in his/her own right. So, when Joe passed, only his half of the estate is at issue. But, you will need to address the Will language with a counselor well versed in probate - was the legal usufruct only confirmed? Or, was Sue granted a lifetime usufruct and does Sue have the power to alienate/dispose of property subject to the usufruct. All of these factors and your specific circumstances will need to be addressed to obtain...

Q: Can a daughter obtain a medical (Living Will) over her mother...while being married in the State of

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Louisiana on
Answered on Dec 10, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
A Living Will stipulates what, if any, medical measures a person wants administered at end of life and where the person can no longer articulate those wishes and the measures only "artificially prolong" life. A Power of Attorney is a document where a principal appoints an agent to act on his/her behalf. In either scenario, the person making the decisions/appointments needs to appear.

Q: My Siblings and I inherited a small farm from our parents and in 2000 was the last contact I had with my brother

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Nov 15, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
One, you can request a partition and the absent heir can be represented by a court appointed attorney. But, partition can be done by a division of the land or sale. Also, there La CC Art 54 permits an interested person to petition the court and have an absent person, after 5 years of being absent, declared dead. Again, you will need evidence of last known address, no contact, and other evidence, but you should contact counsel well versed in probate and local to you to obtain a more precise...

Q: How do I get my name added to the deed of a house willed to me? Do I need to go through probate?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Oct 25, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
You must do a succession in some form. The instructions in the Will, extent of any other beneficiaries, and nature of the property, values, and any debts will dictate the correct process for proceeding in your circumstances. You will need to speak to counsel well versed in probate about these factors and to obtain a more precise recommendation for proceeding.

Q: Do heirs have to pay estate taxes on non-liquid assets?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Oct 22, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
If it is a Louisiana estate, Louisiana has no inheritance tax. As to Federal Estate Taxes, that threshhold is now $11M per individual, so few estates trigger that tax. Then, whether you will have to pay any income tax, or capital gains tax, depends on the nature of the inherited asset (for example, you may earn income, or have to pay taxes on certain financial accounts, or retirement accounts - depending on how they were funded). You should speak with your counsel, and your CPA, about your...

Q: What happens if the person who was going to be the executor died and it wasn't changed?

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Sep 21, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
Depends. First query, is administration even needed? If not, you may not need to worry about appointing an Executor. Then, if the Will does not name an alternate or Successor, then another interested party/beneficiary can petition the court to become the Executor of the Will.

Q: How can we sell inherited property when 4 of the 8 heirs refuse to buy or sell?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Louisiana on
Answered on Sep 17, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
You will have to administer the estate, have the court appoint someone as executor/administrator, and then get authority to sell after an offer is submitted in writing and contingent upon court approval. Then, the proceeds are split (after authority from the court, again) either by intestacy law, or terms of the Will.

Q: My husband & I made wills in1970 and were living in WV. We now live in Louisiana. Are our wills still legal?

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Louisiana on
Answered on Sep 17, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
Yes, your Wills would likely be given full effect, as most states have "uniform Will" laws for situations like that. However, do your Wills still meet all of your needs, especially considering that Louisiana has community property law and forced heirship concerns? You should review the Will and discuss with counsel well versed in Louisiana probate, if it still meets all of your intentions and unique concerns with Louisiana law.

Q: How long must you legally own a property in the state of Louisiana before reselling? Where is the law defining this ?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Louisiana on
Answered on Sep 10, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
There is no law requiring that you hold property for a minimum time before re-selling. However, tax consequences could differ on income/capital gains. You should address that scenario, and your specific circumstances, with your CPA.

Q: 4 of 5 heirs agree to sell co-owned property per a will. Can executor sell independently & distribute funds per will?

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Louisiana on
Answered on Sep 5, 2018
Christie Tournet's answer
Depends on how Will reads. If someone was appointed as independent executrix, then, that person can make such decisions for the estate free of court authority. If independent administration was not included in the will, then administration needs to occur, and the formal administration steps need to occur - request authority from court, show a contract is on the table, publish notice, and advise the court if any objection. Any formal, filed objection will need to be set for hearing. You...

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