When a loved one passes, there is often confusion or disagreement between family members regarding what will happen to the property of the decedent. This is why it is important for Louisiana adults to have estate plans in place. Depending on the specific types of plans, there may be both probate and nonprobate assets to distribute.

Probate assets are those that are solely in the name of the deceased. Probate is the legal process of settling the estate and distributing the assets according to the terms of the will or according to intestate laws if there is no will. Probate can be a lengthy process, especially if there are complications with assets or disagreements among heirs.

Typically, nonprobate assets are those that are jointly owned, such as by two spouses, and assets that have designated beneficiaries. Assets held in a trust are nonprobate assets as well. These assets will transfer directly to the other owner or beneficiaries, or they will be distributed to the beneficiary per the terms of the trust, without having to go through probate. Many Louisiana adults find it better to establish trusts to accomplish specific estate planning goals for this reason.

To understand more about the difference between probate and nonprobate assets, it may help to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. This guidance can provide useful when crafting an estate plan or settling the estate of a loved one. Dealing with probate, will disputes and other estate matters can be complex, but having help is a simple way to lower the chance of issues that can cost time and money to resolve.