Estate Law Services

DISABILITY considerations:

  •  Joint or shared authority for bank accounts and other assets which may need to be managed  during disability.
  •  Medical Power of Attorney
  •  Durable Business Power of Attorney
  •  Living Trust primarily for
     A.   Asset protection (medicaid eligibility) or
     B.   Avoidance of Estate tax and Probate/Sucession
  •  Long Term Care in home or facility
  •  Pre-disability transfers and conveyances with retention of usufruct where  appropriate.                     


  •  Last Will & Testament with or without trust as appropriate
  •  IRA Trust which maximizes stretch out after death for the beneficiary(ies) to achieve growth and  minimize income tax, and provides creditor and divorce protection.
  •  Gifting within gift tax guidelines to reduce an estate
  •  Special Needs Trust for disabled heirs/legatees who will be disqualified from benefits received  from the government if they receive an inheritance
  •  Business Entities to protect assets


  •  Probate/Successions
  •  Assistance with distributing assets from trust and extinguishing trust
  •  Planning for the widow/widower's death and modifying testament to consider that the  widow/widower is now single.

Gwenda Lamb has practiced in the area of estate law for twenty-four (24) years, and understands the special considerations of helping clients in general with estate considerations; additionally, she understands the hearts, minds, concerns, and health issues of seniors. She has had a large geriatric practice for many years.

Each of these areas is broad and complex, but the following are a few considerations which pertain to each.


She also understands seniors with beginning dementia/Alzheimer and assists them in thinking about their impending disability and in recognizing through their planning how they desire to spend this time, whether at their home or a facility, and who will render the care giving (family members/ privately paid sitters either full or part time/ assisted living/nursing home). Many have not discussed this with their families before coming into our office to discuss estate issues.

Gwenda explains that the elderly parent, often reliant on his or her children will come into the office anxious and tense, however, I always tell them to relax; “they are among friends.” My goal is to take as much time as is necessary to find out what my client, the elderly parent, desires, assist in sharing valuable information with the family who comes in, and draft documents that make realizing these goals possible.

I enjoy meeting the client and all children, however, I do not insist upon it. I find that families who take the time for this appointment leave our office glad that they set aside the time to do. Issues are addressed that maybe have been a concern or may have never been considered. Most often, the family including our client are glad to have had the conversation directed to these areas of concern and solutions agreed upon. The most important thing that I do on these days is to facilitate an honest discussion about long term care if and when it is needed.

Often the client has not ever considered the particulars of how he or she wishes to be cared for when self care is no longer possible. At other times, although considered and even decided by the client, the client has not relayed his or her desires to family and worked out the details as much as possible.

A family visit assists the client and his family in understanding the desire of the client, the resources needed, encourages voicing of concerns and fears, and assesses strengths and weaknesses of the plan.

With proper planning the entire family is involved and the client has decided whether he or she wishes to be cared for (1) in his or her home, or (2) assisted living or nursing home. With foresight, if the latter is chosen, medicaid eligibility can be achieved for nursing home care.


This year a person may die with assets worth 5.25 million and owe no estate tax. The number is in both instances doubled for a married couple.

In Louisiana, forced heirs are one’s children who are less than 24 years of age or mentally or physically disabled. In this instance Louisiana law provides that a parent must leave one child a minimum of one-fourth (1/4) of his or her estate. If two or more children meet this criteria, then the parent must leave these children a minimum of one-half (½) of his or her estate. In limited circumstances grandchildren may be a forced heir.

This is known as the “forced portion” or legitime. The other portion which may be freely willed to anyone else is called the “disposable portion.”

A usufruct is often bequeathed to one’s surviving spouse if one bequeaths all of one’s assets to one’s children. The usufruct may extend to remarriage or death at the desire of the person making the Will. If the person making the will chooses the usufruct may also allow for the sale of property and attach to the proceeds of the sale. A usufruct allows one’s surviving spouse to remain in the home or move elsewhere, rent out the home and receive the rent as income.

If one has a disabled heir that one desires to provide for and this heir is receiving government benefits, one should include a “SNT” (Special Needs Trust) within one's Last Will & Testament so that the heir will be cared for without becoming disqualified for government benefits.

Other reasons to include a trust within a Last Will and Testament would be that some heirs are minors, adult heirs who do not manage money well, and tax considerations.

Special legacies may also be made to specific persons. A special or particular legacy often includes heirlooms, guns which may have been passed from generation to generation, jewelry, china, antiques, and collections (coin, stamp, tea cups).


Gwenda Lamb offers a flat fee for uncontested successions which require no court appearance, in which all heirs/legatees or the surviving spouse, as appropriate, are willing to sign the prepared documents, and all requested information and documents are furnished to her at the initial meeting. Simply call her for detailed information on what you will need to bring or mail into the office to receive the flat fee. For these types of successions she also guarantees that the succession documents will be prepared within four business days of her office receiving all information and documents needed or there is no charge.

She does also handle contested succession matters which generally will require hearings and/or trials. These matters are handled on an hourly fee basis.

Real estate matters are handled as they relate to estate matters. These typically include selling the home and drafting closing documents or assisting the heirs with a Partition of inherited land. A Partition is a division of property. Generally, a surveyor is employed to survey the entire parcel of land, divide it into individual tracts and render a plat designating the parcels in some way: A,B,C or Tract I, Tract II, and Tract III. After the surveyor has completed his work complete with new legal descriptions, for each individual tract, then a Partition agreement is prepared where all heirs convey all of their interest in a specified parcel to a single heir, such that the single heir now owns 100% interest in the parcel. This is replicated for each additional heir. At the end of this process co-ownership is extinguished and each heir owns a definite parcel of land.

Gwenda Lamb makes “house calls” (home/hospital/nursing home) to those who cannot come into the office because of disability or illness or because they must remain in the home to care for a spouse.

Gwenda Lamb has been qualified as an expert in the area of successions in the Ninth Judicial District Court and has provided testimony for this court.

Gwenda Lamb is the author of numerous articles on estate matters. Links to the most requested are provided on the Articles page.