Louisiana’s “forced heirship” law

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Carl S. Goode |

Louisiana has a unique history and a number of one-of-a-kind laws that remain in place only in our state. Take the concept of “forced heirship.” This means that parents cannot disinherit a child who’s younger than 24 years old.

They also can’t disinherit a child of any age who can’t care for themselves. Parents with adult children who are permanently disabled can comply with the law by setting up a special needs trust.

What does the law say?

The law states that if a parent has a child who is under 24 or “permanently incapable of taking care of their persons or administering their estates…[because of] mental incapacity or physical infirmity,” that child is required to receive a portion of their parent’s estate. If there’s more than one child who qualifies, they all must share in that portion.

If a parent with children who qualified for forced heirship under the law dies without a will (intestate), the children covered by the law will receive a portion of the estate.

There are a couple of other things to note. First, if a child who would have qualified for forced heirship when their parent died had already passed away themselves and has a surviving child, that child qualifies for the inheritance. Second, there is an exception for forced heirship if there’s been a documented history of that child’s violence against the parent.

Determining the amount of assets a child is entitled to inherit under this law is too complicated to discuss here. It’s wise to get experienced legal guidance to help ensure that you’re following the law and how best to use a trust to protect the assets so that they’ll be available to your child when they need them.

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