Louisiana is the only state that has forced heirship, but what exactly is it? According to Louisiana Estate and Elder Law of Louisiana LLC, these sets of laws are in place in Louisiana to prevent disinheriting one’s children and affect someone’s ability to leave their property to whomever they want other than their own children in certain circumstances. So, how does one navigate this?
Who is a Forced Heir Under Louisiana Law?
Ciolino and Onstoott define a forced heir as “a child who is under the age of 24 or any child with physical or mental disabilities who lacks the ability to care for themselves. In certain circumstances, a grandchild may be considered a forced heir. This occurs if the parent of the child died prior to the grandparent.” As a forced heir, they can’t be overlooked when determining their portion of the decedent’s estate!
One cannot simply withhold what a forced heir is entitled to. The last will and testament do not override forced heirship in Louisiana, meaning you can’t write little John out of the will because he didn’t take out the trash, and you wanted to teach him a lesson! However, there are special circumstances where a parent can disinherit a child based on abuse, cruelty, harm, or various crimes committed by the child. Ciolino and Onstoott share that in these cases, the will must state that they are disinheriting the forced heir and the reasoning behind so.
How to Plan for This
There isn’t much that you can do on your own to prepare for this, but finding a Louisiana succession attorney in your area can be a big help! They can navigate you through the law, answer any questions that you may have, and help you protect your estate.