People have the right to leave their property to anyone they want in their wills. However, that right is not unlimited. Louisiana law does not allow for prohibited substitutions in wills.
What Is a Prohibited Substitution?
A prohibited substitution occurs when a testator leaves a specific piece of property to one person with instructions for that person to keep and maintain the property and then leave it to another specific individual upon death. You’re not allowed to give a first person full ownership of something and then require that person to deliver it to a second person after the first person’s death.
For example, it would be a prohibited substitution if in your mother’s will, she leaves her vacation home to her brother with instructions that the vacation home be kept in good repair and owned by the brother until the brother’s death and goes on to state that the brother must leave the vacation home to you in his will.
While your mother’s goal could not be legally achieved in her will, she could have used other estate planning tools, such as a trust, to allow her brother to use the home for his lifetime and then pass the vacation home to you. However, if other estate planning tools were not used, you need to know what happens to the prohibited substitution in your mother’s will.
When a Will Contains a Prohibited Substitution
Prohibited substitutions are null and void. It is as if the bequest was never made. In the previous example, neither your mother’s brother (the institute) nor you (the substitute) will receive the vacation home according to the specific bequest. Instead, the property will pass according to the other provisions in the will.
Do I Need an Estate Litigation Lawyer?
If you believe a will contains a prohibited substitution or if another heir or legatee claims that there is a prohibited substitution that may impact your inheritance, you need to talk to an experienced Louisiana estate litigation lawyer.
Our attorneys will review the entire will and advise you of your legal options, so you can be confident that your rights are protected. Please contact us today to learn more.