Several times a year I have a widow in my office and I have to explain to her the house that she has paid the mortgage on for years is not entirely hers –she only owns 50% and did not inherit her husband’s share when he died and here is why…
Most people may assume that if they are married and die without a Last Will & Testament, their surviving spouse will inherit their entire estate. In most cases this is NOT True. The way property is characterized is important in determining who inherits the property when its owner dies.
Property is characterized as either separate or community property in Louisiana, depending on when and how it was acquired. Property that is acquired before marriage is classified as separate property. Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property, unless it was acquired by gift or through an inheritance and a few other limited circumstances.
The distinction between separate and community property can get a bit confusing at times, but it is very important in determining how property is distributed at death. If you die without a Last Will & Testament, the Louisiana intestacy laws will dictate how the property is distributed based on its characterization as separate or community property.
If your property is characterized as separate property and you are survived by a spouse and children, your surviving spouse does NOT inherit; the property passes to your children. If your property is characterized as community property, then your 50% interest is inherited by your children subject to a usufruct in favor of your spouse.
If you are married but have no children or other descendants, your surviving spouse would be entitled to all the community but NOT separate property.
Only you can control this by writing a Last Will & Testament. You have the power to leave your property to the people of your choice. Do not let the State decide. Call Michele Blanchard TODAY and we can create a plan that will fit your needs. 985-641-4010