I met with a gentleman this past Thursday. He had emailed me the night before inquiring about how to get a Judgment of Possession because his investment firm told him he needed a Judgment of Possession before they would turn over his deceased wife's investment account to him.
After we talked on the phone for a few minutes, we determined it would be best if he collected all of his wife's important papers and then he would bring them in for me to review. He mentioned he had a trust prepared in another state years earlier before moving to Louisiana.
At any rate, he came in with all of his papers including his revocable living trust he and his wife established in Missouri, along with a copy of her Last Will. We quickly determined that none of his assets were titled in the trust's name, and we determined that he could not find her original Last Will and Testament. He had a copy, but it was not a copy of her signed document. Her signature was not on the copy.
First thing I said was, "I realize you set up this trust to avoid probate and make it easier upon a death, but your trust does not accomplish this because none of your assets are titled in your trust, so we have to go through probate to get the assets out of her name."
Second, we realized that we would have to treat this scenario as if she had no Last Will, and use the Louisiana intestate laws to move the assets out of her name. I showed him our sample Louisiana Succession, and I explained how he would continue owning his half of their assets, and how he would inherit the usufruct, until his death or remarriage, of her half of the assets, and their children were inheriting the naked ownership of her half of the community property.
Next week he will be signing all of the succession documents and all of his new estate planning documents so that his wife's estate can be settled, and it will be easier for his kids to manage his estate if he becomes incapacitated, and it will be easy for them to settle his estate when he is gone.
Take a peek every now and then and make sure you have your original estate planning documents, and also make sure that if you establish a revocable living trust to avoid a probate or a Louisiana Succession, you have "funded" your trust and transferred your "probate assets" to your trust during your lifetime.