by Chip Morrison

Not only do we have our own exceptional and unique culture, Louisiana also has an entirely separate set of laws as compared to the other forty-nine states. Louisiana’s code of laws is derived from the French Civil Law system otherwise known as the Napoleonic code.  From that system, Louisiana is subject to the laws of forced heirship. 

So, what is forced heirship? Forced heirship originally included every child as a forced heir to their parent. This meant that the law required all children to inherit from their deceased parents. In 1995, our legislature changed forced heirs to only include children who are under the age of 24, and children who suffer from a physical or mental condition that may render them unable to care for themselves.

Most of us have heard the old adage, “if you don’t make a will, the state will make one for you.”  That is certainly true in Louisiana, but the benefits of creating your own will in Louisiana are much more far reaching: 

  • You get to direct where you want certain assets to go and in what percentages.  Without a will, all of your community property must go to your children, while leaving your surviving spouse a usufruct.
  • You will have the ability to choose who is going to be the executor of your estate. 
  • If you have minor children, this is your only opportunity to stipulate who will be the guardian or “tutor” over your minor children. 
  • If you have children with special needs or children who are spendthrifts, your will may contain a trust that will fully protect those children. 

Many of our clients often wonder how they can make sure that their last will and testament complies with Louisiana’s forced heirship rules, while also ensuring that their surviving spouse will be taken care of. Our estate plans can be specifically designed to ensure that the children’s forced portion is kept safe in a trust, while the surviving spouse has a right to the income from the trust.  We can even design your estate plan to ensure that the surviving spouse has a right to use the property held in the trust if he or she needs to.

About Our Law Firm

Morrison Law Group, PLC is an estate planning law firm in Metairie, Louisiana. Chip Morrison is Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Administration, as certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization, and is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, and offer guidance and advice to our clients in every area of estate planning. We offer comprehensive and personalized estate planning consultations.. 

For more information or to schedule a consultation please contact us at (504) 831-2348 or visit us online at    

Morrison Law Group, PLC