Estate Planning 101

Share it with your friends Like

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Estate Planning 101: how your estate planning needs and objectives change as you go through life.

For prospective law firm clients who want to schedule a free 15 minute initial phone call with Paul Rabalais, go to:

The following is a breakdown of three different phases people go through as they get and keep their estate legal affairs in order.

Phase I is for those parents in their 30’s and 40’s who have minor children. These parents are still in the accumulation phase, but there are important estate planning issues. Typically, parents in Phase I worry about who will raise their children if the parents die before the children reach the age of majority. Another concern revolves around the fact that Phase I parents are accumulating retirement accounts, life insurance, and they are building equity in their homes. Phase I parents do not want to dump a lump sum of money into the hands of a minor or young adult.

In addition, a divorced Phase I parent often needs assurance that their ex-spouse will never control the money that the Phase I parent leave to the young child.

Phase II of estate planning is for people typically in their 50’s and early 60’s. They are often not yet retired, but they are seeing parents and some colleagues around them get sick and pass away. Concerns from Phase II parents revolve around how to leave their estate to their spouse, and making sure that the future inheritance of their young adult children, who are married, is protected from divorce.

Phase III is for those in their late 60’s, and in their 70’s and 80’s. They are often retired. They have accumulated assets. Their priorities involve making their estate settlement simple by avoiding probate, and their estate planning concerns involve protecting their estates, often from long term care illnesses, taxes, and in some cases, protecting from lawsuits. Phase III individuals and couples can also have a wide range of other estate planning issues, such as blended family issues, pre-nuptial agreements, special needs planning, leaving particular assets to certain people or in a certain way, who to select for the roles and backup roles for financial and health care powers of attorney, executors, and trustees.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.

Paul Rabalais
Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (225) 329-2450


Jason Dale says:

40; my father died last year (in Georgia) and I was the administrator. He owned few assets and his probate was straightforward. It got me curious about how things would go since I live in Louisiana. Thanks to your videos, I'm learning about some of the drastic differences and what to watch out for.

Lisa Richard says:

Phase 2- 40s

Cc Cc says:

Family and friends in all 3 phases. Your videos start helpful conversations and allay fears to help make practical, proactive decisions.

Loretta SM says:

In phase 2, in my early 50’s, married, 3 children, two of which have autism (one high functioning, and one moderate, the youngest). My goal is to pay off our home and set up a special needs trust for the youngest so he will always have a place to live. My struggle has been trying to figure out how to be equitable to the other two children as the youngest would be granted use of the most valuable asset. Thanks so much for your Louisiana-centric estate planning videos. I’m trying to learn as much as possible so I’m armed and ready when it’s time to get down to business 😃

Knowrain Knowrainbows says:

Phase 2 – Divorced/Single … hope to retire in 4 years … I want to make things as simple as possible for my children and avoid probate/succession … Thank you!

Write a comment