Forced heirs are children of the decedent who have not reached their 24th birthday or who are mentally or physically disabled.
Louisiana's Constitution requires that all children who are "twenty three years of age or younger" when their parent dies are forced heirs. By statute, the legislature established that this means that any child who has not yet reached his or her 24th birthday is a forced heir. Grandchildren who represent a predeceased child will only be a forced heir if the predeceased child would not have yet reached his or her 24th birthday.
Forced heirs also include children of the decedent, no matter how old, if that child is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical or mental infirmities. The act also says that a disabled grandchild who represents a predeceased child will be a forced heir no matter how old that predeceased child would have been when the decedent died.
“Permanently disabled children” includes children who have an inherited, incurable disease that may in the future render them incapable of caring for themselves.
If the decedent leaves one forced heir, the forced portion must be at least one fourth of the decedent's property. If there are two or more forced heirs, the forced portion is one half of the decedent's property. However, in no event will the forced portion exceed that share which the forced heir would inherit if the decedent died intestate.
When calculating the forced portion, all donations made by the decedent within the last three years of his life are included in his property.
If the decedent leaves the usufruct over the forced portion to his surviving spouse, that does not impinge the forced portion. The decedent also may leave the forced portion in a trust without impinging the forced portion. The forced heir, however, may require the usufructuary to post security if the usufructuary is not also the parent of the forced heir.