Many & LoCoco Legal Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Should I have a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney? Or Do I Need Both?

Many people are confused by these two important estate planning documents. It’s important to understand the functions of each and ensure that you are fully protected by incorporating both of these documents into your overall estate plan.


A “living will,” often called an advance health care directive, is a legal document setting forth your wishes for end-of-life medical care in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes yourself. In Louisiana, the advance directive is only operative if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition and the administration of life-sustaining treatment will merely artificially prolong the process of dying, or if you are in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. In the document, you will also have to elect if you wish the life-sustaining procedures to be withheld to include nutrition or hydration or not. 


A durable power of attorney for health care is a document in which you name another person to serve as your health care agent. This person is authorized to speak on your behalf in order to consent to – or refuse – medical treatment if your doctor determines that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. With the ever increasing reliance on Hippa laws by the medical community, this document has become invaluable for the person seeking information for a loved one. A durable power of attorney for health care can be operative at any time you designate, not just when your condition is terminal. The term "durable" means that the document survives any incapacity you may suffer that would render you incapable of making those decisions. That is why it is an important document to execute now, while you still have the requisite capacity to execute such a document.


For maximum protection, we strongly recommend to all of our clients that they have both a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. The power of attorney affords you flexibility with an agent who can express your wishes and respond accordingly to any changes in your medical condition. Your agent should base his or her decisions on any written wishes you have provided, like an advance directive. This is how the two documents work in accord with eacjh other, assisting your agent in deciding what you would ewant done if you were in a position to speak for yourself.  Furthermore, the advance directive is necessary to guide health care providers in the event your agent is unavailable. If your agent’s decisions are ever challenged, the advance directive can also serve as evidence that your agent is acting in good faith and in accordance with your wishes.  


Although beyond the scope of this article, we would be remiss if we didn't at least mention that as it relates to the health care power of attorney, it is often incorporated into a durable general power of attorney, which gives an agent the authority to act on your behalf in all of your financial affairs as well as your health care decisions. However, sometimes these documents are separated into two distinct legal documents for many reasons, one of which is because the client will appoint one agent to make financial decisions and another individual to be the agent for healthcare decisions. These are choices solely up to the client.

Please feel free to subscribe to continue receiving email notifications of our updated blog posts.

Many & LoCoco

Attorneys at Law  



Monday, April 16, 2012

The Importance of Estate Planning for Parents with Minor Children

If you have minor children, you must have a will.

I usually began my talks at seminars with this strong, unequivocal statement. Why do I say that?

Simply put, in their will, parents are provided the only opportunity available to them to appoint a Tutor, the person that they personally choose and designate will raise their children in case both parents die together. 

Choosing whom to name as Tutor is usually a very tough decision that parents must make. It is such a difficult decision that many parents never do it. I am convinced they just don’t want to even contemplate the situation, which is understandable. But it needs to be well thought out and then actually done.

If you do have minor children, let me ask you a question that I believe will make you start thinking about getting a will done. If you don’t formally appoint a person to act as Tutor for your child, do you know who makes that decision? Answer: A judge.

I know a lot of judges, and I like most of them, but I would not want any of them choosing who will be the person responsible for the raising of my children. The person appointed by the judge in some cases may not be your first choice, or in some situtations, may be the one person you would never want to raise your children. What are the chances the judge will choose the one person you would have wanted to serve as Tutor? Are you willing to take that chance? Probably not. 

Now, before sitting down with an attorney to draft your will, you and your spouse should carefully consider whom you would like to appoint as Tutor. In making this decision, you must remember that the person you name as Tutor will be raising your child until he or she reaches the age of majority, which in Louisiana is at the age of 18. Thus, you want to make certain that the person you choose shares the same values held by you and your spouse.

Who can be named as Tutors? Anyone. Some people name other family members or some even name family friends.

You also need to name an Undertutor, who is a substitute named in case the Tutor cannot act for any reason. 

At this point, parents throw there hands up and say, “I can’t think of one person, and now I need to name two people."

This is where an estate planning attorney can assist you. The attorney will work with you through your available choices and help you in choosing your best options.

Naming a Tutor is just one small aspect in the drafting of your will and your overall estate plan. An estate planning attorney will guide you through the myriad of options available to you in forming an estate plan that best fits your own individual needs. I hope this article shows the importance of planning now for the unforseen events in the future.

Please feel free to subscribe to continue receiving email notifications of our updated blog posts.

Many & LoCoco

Attorneys at Law

Image used courtesy of Ambro /

Hyperlink code below for Image:

<p><a href="">Image: Ambro /</a></p>



Friday, April 13, 2012

Forced Heirship under Louisiana Law by Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco, Esq.


Forced heirship is an ancient civilian concept.  Louisiana is the only state in the union which has forced heirship as a law. It was derived from Roman and French law.

The simple explanation of the law of forced heirship is the requirement that a portion of a person’s estate must be left to his or her children, who under law are known as forced heirs.

Originally, every child was considered to be a forced heir. That law, over the years, has been changed and amended many times and now the law, as stated in Louisiana Civil Code Article 1493, has defined forced heirs as those descendants of the decedent who at the time of the decedent’s death are twenty three (23) years of age or younger or who of any age, because of a mental incapacity or physical infirmity, are permanently incapable of taking care of their persons or administering their estates at the time of the death of the decedent.

The law spells out the portion of your estate that must be left to your forced heir. This is called the “forced portion”. If you die, leaving one forced heir, the “forced portion” is one-quarter (1/4) of your estate. If you die with two or more children, then the “forced portion” is one-half (1/2) of your estate, which must be split among the forced heirs.

Forced heirship is the law of Louisiana. Simply put, other than for specific grounds of disinherison recognized by law, if you leave a forced heir, he or she will receive a portion of your estate when you die.

That is where proper estate planning comes in. Since we know your forced heir has to get a portion of your estate, an estate planning agenda can be developed to perhaps leave the forced portion to your child in trust, so that they cannot access the funds themselves, with said funds being controlled by a Trustee whom you appoint in your will. Additionally, that forced portion could also be subject to a usufruct to your spouse, whereby your spouse has full use of the property during her lifetime. The forced heir merely has what is called the “naked ownership” of his or her forced portion. This is allowed under Louisiana Law.

That is the importance of a well-thought out estate plan and the use of a Last Will and Testament.

This article is a very brief discussion of forced heirship. Please call one of our attorneys today if you would like more information or if you would like to set up a meeting to begin your own estate planning agenda.


Please feel free to subscribe to continue receiving email notifications of our updated blog posts.
Many & LoCoco
Attorneys at Law


← Newer1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9Older →

Blog Categories

Estate Planning

Real Estate

Archived Posts


The Attorneys of Many & LoCoco assist clients throughout parts of Southern Louisiana, including but not limited to New Orleans, Metairie, Mandeville, Convington, Gretna, Arabi, Marrero, Westwego, Harvey, Chalmette, Kenner, and the Parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, and St. Bernard, LA.

© 2021 Many & LoCoco | Disclaimer
4833 Conti Street, Suite 109, New Orleans, LA 70119
| Phone: 504-483-2332

Estate Planning | Estate Planning for High Net Worth Individuals | Interdictions | Probate & Estate Administration | Estate Planning for Parents with Minor Children | Special Needs Planning | Business Succession Planning | Powers of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives | Elder Law | ESTATE TAXES | Our Firm | Publications

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative