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Video Taping The Execution Of A Will

Under Louisiana law, there is no legal requirement that the execution of a will be video taped. Further, there is no such thing as a video will. Louisiana law has specific form requirements for wills. Video taped wills are not one of those approved forms.

However, video taping of wills may be very useful in certain limited situations. Let’s say that it is anticipated that the capacity of the person executing the will may be contested in the subsequent succession. This would be a situation where it would be useful to video tape the execution of the will.

Video taping would show that the person executing the will understood what it meant, consented to the will and was under no duress. It would also be helpful to interview the person executing the will by asking open ended questions about why the bequests were made as well as to show capacity.

So video taping is not a will in and of itself. However, it can provide valuable evidence to show that the person executing the will possessed legal capacity to sign it.

Should you have any questions on wills, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean

My Application For Social Security Benefits Has Been Denied! What Do I Do?

Appeal as soon as possible! You should appeal your denial of benefits as soon as possible. For unfavorable decisions from the local office and the administrative law judge, you have only sixty (60) days to file an appeal.

If you do not file an appeal within sixty (60) days, your decision will become final and you will not be able to appeal it. Your only other possible option will be to re-apply with the local office.

By not appealing, you could lose significant back payments for Social Security Benefits.

You should also appeal right away because the appeal process already takes a long time before you will receive a decision. Every day, week, and month that you delay is adding additional time to what is already a slow process.

Appeals sent by mail can be lost and misplaced. I recommend that clients hand deliver their appeal form to the Social Security Office. Make sure that the appeal form is stamped with a receipt date and make sure that you have them also stamp the receipt on your own copy. That way if the appeal is lost, you will have proof that you filed your appeal.

You do not have to have an attorney to appeal an unfavorable decision. However, I do recommend that if you obtain an unfavorable decision that you consult with an experienced Social Security Attorney.

Kent S. DeJean

What Do I Do If I Left Off A Succession Asset?

Heirs and legatees are required to file a detailed descriptive list with the court in a succession. A detailed descriptive list itemizes all debts and assets of the person that has died as listed on the Death Certificate under oath. Although heirs and legatees should make every effort to present to the court an accurate list of assets, key assets can be left off by mistake.

Heirs or legatees may discover real estate or bank accounts belonging to the decedent after a Judgment of Possession is rendered.

If assets are discovered after a Judgment of Possession is rendered, it will be necessary to file a Supplemental Petition for Possession along with a Supplemental Detailed Descriptive List itemizing the missing asset(s). After permission is granted by the court, a Supplemental Judgment of Possession can be rendered by the court to add the additional asset.

If you have any questions concerning successions, contact an experienced estate attorney.

Kent S. DeJean

Beware of Revocable Living Trusts!

Many consumers are executing Revocable Living Trusts. They are being promoted this product on the promise that it will help them avoid a succession and probate.

While Revocable Living Trusts does help a person avoid succession and probate; that is all that it does and this benefit may not be as valuable as one might initially think.

Some Revocable Living Trusts are expensive and may cost as much as a small uncontested non-problematic succession. So the financial benefit that you recieve may not be as great as you think.

What is important to remember is what Revocable Living Trusts do not do! Revocable Living Trusts are revocable. Which means you can remove any property you put into that trust at any time.

Since you can remove the property from the trust, there is no asset protection. If you owe money, your creditors will be able to seize whatever assets you placed into the trust.

Also, you obtain no tax advantages creating a Revocable Living Trust. You will continue to pay your taxes the same way you always have paid them.

Finally, placing property in a Revocable Living Trust does not shelter it from government entities that require you to pay for your long term nursing home care. Medicaid and the Veteran’s Administration will count all property placed into a Revocable Living Trust just like you own it. There is a five (5) year look back period for Medicaid and soon there may be a look back period with the Veteran’s Administration. You may be missing out on an opportunity to shelter your assets while you are healthy by placing your assets into a Revocable Living Trust.

To obtain additional information on legal and innovative estate planning strategies, you should always consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean

Powers of Attorney: Always Have A Plan B!

The decision on who should be your agent for your power of attorney is usually a fairly easy one. Most people will usually select their spouse or a close friend or family member. However, the more difficult question is who does a person want to serve as the successor agent in the event that the agent is unwilling or unable to serve.

It is strongly advised that you name a successor agent in the event that the agent is unwilling or unable to serve. Your agent may die, become incapacitated or simply may not wish to serve for any reason. If your agent is unwilling or unable to serve, an interdiction proceeding will have to be filed to appoint you a guardian to administer your person and property if you failed to name a successor agent.

Therefore, always name a back-up successor agent in your power of attorney. Never assume that an agent will be willing or able to serve as your agent when and if you lose capacity.

If you have any questions concerning Powers of Attorney, consult an experienced estate planning attorney.

Kent S. DeJean
8414 Bluebonnet Blvd. Suite 110, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Phone (225) 769-4200 - Fax (225) 769-2864 - Toll Free (800) 769-3522
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