In Louisiana, a person may be forced to leave their heirs a portion of their estate. Such heirs are referred to as forced heirs. Louisiana law defines forced heirs as follows:
- All children who have not attained the age of 24 years are forced heirs.
- All children who are permanently incapable of taking care of their person or administering their estate at the time of the death of their parent, due to a mental or physical incapacity of that particular child, are forced heirs, regardless of the age of the child.
- A grandchild is a forced heir of his or her grandparent only if the predeceased child (the grandchild's parent) would have been less than 24 years of age at the time of the grandparent's death.
- A grandchild whose parent has predeceased the grandparent is a forced heir if the grandchild, due to mental or physical incapacity, is permanently incapable of taking care of his person or administering his estate at the time of the death of the grandparent, regardless of the age of the grandchild.
The forced portion depends on the number of forced heirs and is defined by statute. The forced portion cannot exceed the heir's portion that would have been received if the parent died intestate. The following are examples of Louisiana statutes dealing with forced heirs:
Art. 1505. Calculation of disposable portion on mass of succession
- To determine the reduction to which the donations, either inter vivos or mortis causa, are subject, an aggregate is formed of all property belonging to the donor or testator at the time of his death; to that is fictitiously added the property disposed of by donation inter vivos within three years of the date of the donor's death, according to its value at the time of the donation.
- The sums due by the estate are deducted from this aggregate amount, and the disposable quantum is calculated on the balance, taking into consideration the number of forced heirs.
- Neither the premiums paid for insurance on the life of the donor nor the proceeds paid pursuant to such coverage shall be included in the above calculation. Moreover, the value of such proceeds at the donor's death payable to a forced heir, or for his benefit, shall be deemed applied and credited in satisfaction of his forced share.
- Employer and employee contributions under any plan of deferred compensation adopted by any public or governmental employer or any plan qualified under Sections 401 or 408 of the Internal Revenue Code, and any benefits payable by reason of death, disability, retirement, or termination of employment under any such plans, shall not be included in the above calculation, nor shall any of such contributions or benefits be subject to the claims of forced heirs. However, the value of such benefits paid or payable to a forced heir, or for the benefit of a forced heir, shall be deemed applied and credited in satisfaction of his forced share.
Art. 1508. Reduction of donations inter vivos
When the property of the estate is not sufficient to satisfy the forced portion, a forced heir may recover the amount needed to satisfy his legitime from the donees of inter vivos donations made within three years of the date of the decedent's death, beginning with the most recent donation and proceeding successively to the most remote.