Lake Charles Law Blog

Estate planning -- should inheritances always be equal?

The assets listed in one's estate plan might not seem like anything more than just things, but each item -- whether tangible or not -- carries a much deeper meaning. By leaving behind specific assets for their children, parents in Lake Charles are also sending a message even if they don't realize it. Without careful estate planning, parents could be setting up their children for resentment and animosity in the future.

Giving each child an equal inheritance usually seems like the most obvious solution, and in many cases it is. The problem here is that "equal" does not always mean "fair." Heirs can easily misinterpret their parents' attempt at showing love equally as disregard for their personal financial situations. Equal inheritances split among siblings with vastly different incomes can feel unfair to those with less wealth.

Woman facing 3rd drunk driving charge

A recent late night, single-vehicle crash ended in one woman's arrest. Charged with her third drunk driving offense, she was also arrested for careless operation, driving with a suspended license and driving without motor vehicle insurance. Police also say they found an open can of beer inside her vehicle.

A police officer responded to the scene of the single vehicle accident at approximately 11:30 p.m. on May 4, 2020. The 57-year-old woman had crashed her vehicle into a ditch alongside the road. She told the responding officer that another car had almost struck her while trying to run her off the road. She allegedly also admitted to drinking 12 cans of beer before getting behind the wheel.

Could you be eligible for expungement?

Many people make decisions and carry out actions that they regret. It is common for young people especially to not fully think through their actions and end up in trouble. Of course, individuals of any age can make mistakes, and one mistake on your part may have resulted in your facing a criminal conviction.

Unfortunately, criminal convictions can have lasting consequences, and though you may have faced your punishments and sought forgiveness for your actions in whatever ways you felt necessary, the mark on your record can act as a stark reminder of your past errors.

Criminal charges filed over vehicle burglaries

Police recently arrested three adults accused of burglaries in Lake Charles. All three are facing various criminal charges and have varying bonds, with the highest bond set at $87,500. A minor was later arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center.

Authorities first received complaints about possible vehicle burglaries on April 15, 2020, at which time they launched an investigation into the matter. The investigators managed to get surveillance footage of the area where the alleged burglaries took place and identified who they believed were the suspects. The video showed three people in a black vehicle driving around the area and entering vehicles that were unlocked.

Elder law -- don't lose your life savings in a nursing home

It takes decades of hard work and saving money to have enough financial security to retire. That idea of financial security might not be as stable as some think, though. Living expenses are not static throughout life, so one's needs before and after retirement can be vastly different. Something as common as moving into a nursing home or long-term care facility might be all it takes to quickly eat up someone's life savings. Taking the time to better understand elder law may be helpful for someone in Lake Charles who is nearing or already in retirement.

A 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey shows that the average semi-private nursing home room cost $7,513 per month that year. On average, a private room cost $8,517. This monthly expense is far higher than what most people expect to pay in rent or on their mortgage and force some to make difficult decisions -- deplete their life's savings or forgo necessary care?

Estate planning -- deciding between wills and revocable trusts

How one passes property to heirs is just as important -- if not more -- as deciding which assets to distribute to heirs. There are generally two estate planning documents that people in Lake Charles should consider for inheritances. For some, wills are appropriate for this purpose. Others might benefit more from revocable trusts.

A will typically lists a person's property as well as who should receive what. This is a fairly straightforward process that allows a person to make his or her wishes known. There are a couple areas to watch out for when creating a will, though, including jointly owned assets and accounts with named beneficiaries. An account like an IRA will go to the person who is named as the beneficiary, not necessarily the person who is listed in the will.

Louisiana police file criminal charges for attempted burning

A judge recently set a woman's bond at $19,000 after she was arrested on a number of allegations, including aggravated assault. Louisiana police claim that she tried to harm her mother and may have also struck her cousin. She is currently facing at least five separate criminal charges.

Police were called to a home on April 10, 2020, and a single officer responded to the scene. Authorities believe that a 28-year-old woman had tried to use a lighter and aerosol spray to inflict burns on her mother before the responding officer arrived. The arrest report also accuses her of pouring an unspecified flammable liquid on the police officer.

Questions to ask yourself when estate planning

Deciding what goes into an estate plan can be both simple and complicated. For example, creating a list of one's assets in a will might seem easy enough at first, but there are usually extra steps for things like retirement accounts or insurance benefits. Even making sure that a will contains an accurate and complete list of assets can be quite a task. This is why some people in Lake Charles might find it helpful to ask themselves these estate planning questions.

To whom should I leave my assets? Most people think that this is an easy question to answer, but after giving it some thought, it usually turns out to be much more difficult. Ultimately, assets can go to family, friends, the government or charity. Carefully considering where or with whom one would like property to end up will inform much of the estate planning process, like whether to gift certain assets, create a trust or change account beneficiaries.

Consider these important issues when choosing a trustee

Deciding to use a trust as part of your estate plan is a wise choice. This planning tool can allow you to have control over the distribution of your assets even after your passing and can better protect assets from creditors and other claimants that a beneficiary could face. Of course, you will need someone to manage the trust to ensure the fulfillment of your wishes.

Choosing a trustee may seem like an easy task, but even if you already have someone in mind, you may want to remember that this person will have a great deal of responsibility. As a result, choosing someone with the right skills and knowledge for the role and who is willing to act in this capacity is vital. Plus, you may want to take into account the various issues that could arise with a trustee.

Criminal defense: Former store employee charged with theft

A Lake Charles woman was recently released from police custody after posting a $10,000 bond. She was arrested and taken into police custody in March for allegedly stealing from her place of work. She is facing a charge for theft of over $25,000, which is a serious allegation that often requires a thorough and vigorous criminal defense.

An asset protection investigator at the store where the woman worked at the time contacted authorities about an employee who was possibly stealing items. Police showed up at the store on March 11, 2020 to look further into the matter. At that time, the asset protection investigator told police that the 35-year-old woman had likely been stealing from the store for about a year.

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