A will is a document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it may appoint a legal representative to carry out your wishes. It is an important and sometimes vital component of estate planning. This is especially true in Louisiana with its unique forced heirship laws found in the Louisiana Civil Code. Without a will, the distribution of your property upon your death and who has the right to inherit from you is governed by the default rules under the Louisiana Civil Code.
A trust is another method of estate transfer—a relationship in which you give another party, the trustee, authority to handle your assets for the benefit of a third party, your beneficiary. A trust can be revocable or irrevocable and become effective while the individual forming the trust is still living (in the case of an inter vivos or living trust) or go into effect upon death. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate the decision to create a will, a trust, or both.