Louisiana Probate Law:
At this point in time, a forced heir is any child of the deceased who is under the age of 24 years. Once a child reaches age 24, he or she is no longer a forced heir. A forced heir can also be a child, regardless of age, who is permanently disabled. So, you could have a child who is a forced heir until age 24, no longer is a forced heir, and then has a stroke at age 40 which makes him a forced heir once again.
TIP: Any estate planning you do should assume that you do have one or more forced heirs –even if you currently have none. Good estate planning can leave a spouse in much better shape than if the forced heirship issue is just ignored.
In 2003, the Louisiana Legislature added this Gem to the Civil Code: forced heirs “…shall include descendants who, at the time of death of the decedent, have, according to medical documentation, an inherited, incurable disease or condition that may render them incapable of caring for their persons or administering their estates in the future.”
WARNING: a forced heir is now any child who may become disabled in the future. This nightmare to estate planners was foisted on the people of Louisiana by a non-thinking Legislature and has already resulted in three suits in which children with Bipolar Disorder were found to be forced heirs –even though they were not disabled when their parent died (and may never be disabled).
For a discussion on how mental illness is treated under Louisiana’s forced heirship laws, including bipolar disorder, read The Tale of Two Sisters.