Louisiana is the only state that recognizes the concept of forced heirship. The principle of forced heirship provides that certain direct descendants are entitled to a specified portion of your estate. It used to be that all of your children were considered forced heirs; however, the law currently provides that a forced heir is a child who is twenty-three years of age or younger, or a child who is disabled. In addition, a grandchild can be considered a forced heir if their parent (your child) predeceased you and would not have been twenty-four years old at the time of your death. A grandchild can also be a forced heir if their parent (your child) predeceased you and your grandchild is disabled, regardless of their age. In order for a child or grandchild to be considered a forced heir because of a disability, they must be “permanently incapable of caring for their person or property due to a physical or mental impairment.” This definition has been expanded in recent years to include a child or grandchild who has a disease or condition that “may render them incapable of caring for their persons or administering their estates in the future.” If you have one forced heir, they are entitled to one-fourth of your estate. If you have two or more forced heirs, they are entitled to one-half of your estate. The law provides methods for providing for forced heirs without giving them outright control over your assets (such as by placing a forced portion in trust). So it is very important for everyone to consider the possibility of having a forced heir when putting together an estate plan so that you can ensure that your heirs are provided for.
Julie Johnson is a Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Law Specialist by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization.
She is also an accredited attorney through the Office of General Counsel/ Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Phone: (985) 277-5577
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