Ask the Attorney Column - April 2015 - (Should I have a Will?)


The following article appeared in the April 2015 issue of the Community Chronicle Newspaper as part of a monthly column titled "Ask the Attorney" authored by Donnie O'Pry of the O'Pry Law Firm. 

(Should I have a Will?)

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes. Despite the fact that everyone is going to [JBW1] at some point, many people don’t take the time to adequately plan for their passing. One thing that is equally as certain as death and taxes is the fact that if you don’t properly specify how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death, the government will do it for you.

A Will (a/k/a Last Will and Testament) is a legal document that allows you to determine how your assets will be divided between your heirs. A Will is especially important for those with young children as additional issues such as guardianship may be addressed. Often, parents will establish a trust for the benefit of the children so that certain conditions may be placed on how the assets are used and maintained until the children reach a certain age. This allows the parents to appoint someone that they trust to administer their assets on behalf of the children.

You should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about Louisiana’s specific requirements for drafting a Will. While the law grants you wide latitude to determine how your assets are allocated, it does require that the document itself comply with several formalities. Just as people plan for the inevitable day each year that Uncle Sam comes looking for his tax money, a little estate planning can ensure that your wishes are followed and your loved ones are protected in the future.

Donnie O’Pry is the Managing Partner of the O’Pry Law Firm, a litigation firm specializing in representing accident and injury victims. Please email your questions to