Since 1981, Jeannie Morris has provided legal representation and services to the top businesses and community leaders in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Jeannie enjoys an unparalleled reputation for approachable, friendly, face-to-face client services, and she is renowned throughout the Louisiana legal community for how determinedly and fearlessly she fights for the interests of her clients. For private citizens, small businesses, and large companies alike, the Law Office of Jeannie Morris provides the most trustworthy and diligent legal services in the New Orleans area. You may directly contact the Law Office of Jeannie Morris to make an appointment at (504) 261-9157 or by e-mail at jeannie@jeanniemorrislaw.com.

  • About
Real Estate

Real Estate

​Jeannie Morris has assisted real estate developers and investors in structuring advantageous acquisitions, sales, financing, and leasing arrangements in Louisiana.
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Successions and Probate

Successions and Probate

Jeannie Morris handles successions for grieving families in a cost effective and timely fashion.
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Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and Acquisitions

Jeannie has handled and assisted in Merger​and Acquisition transactions ranging from $1 million to in excess of $400 million.​
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Foreclosures

Foreclosures

Jeannie Morris has a tremendous amount of experience in Louisiana foreclosures, whether by ordinary and executory process.
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CONSIDERING GOING INTO BUSINESS IN LOUISIANA?


There are many issues to consider.  The first is the TYPE OF ENTITY. Sole Proprietorship is not recommended due to the exposure to personal liability

Partnership is not recommended due to the exposure to personal liability

Corporations.

A “C” corporation is not recommended because you could be subject to double taxation.  The corporation pays income tax, and you pay income tax on your salary or distributions of profit.

A “S” corporation does not incur double taxation, but requires  stricter formalities.

Limited Liability Company is the preferred method which I recommend to my clients.

The next big factor to consider is LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.  The main way to protect your assets is to hold the title to your assets in the name of an entity rather than our individual name.For example, if you own investment or rental properties, you should consider putting each investment property into a limited liability company so that if a catastrophic incident occurs which kills someone, the only asset at risk if you are cast in judgment is the property which THAT entity owns.

If you alone or you and your spouse are the sole owners of the limited liability company, it is considered a pass-through entity for tax purposes.  You would not need to file a separate tax return, you would just add one additional schedule to your personal tax return. This does not just pertain to real estate.  Many of my clients put their money in the name of a limited liability company to protect it from seizure from a creditor or judgment holder.

CAVEAT:   If you put your rental property, home, or car into a limited liability company, you have to change the insured on your insurance to that of your limited liability company.

CAVEAT #2: You must maintain your books and records like a business and not co-mingle your funds.  Failure to do so could cause a court to “pierce the corporate veil” and expose you to personal liability.

Other factors to consider is based on the number of member in a limited liability company.

When an LLC is owned by more than 1 owner, an OPERATING AGREEMENT is highly recommended for a limited liability company or by-laws for a corporation.

If community asset, you may become a partner with your partners surviving spouse in the case of death or the ex-spouse in the case of divorce.

Consider a forced buy out in the case of death, divorce, and disability.

Figure out how your are going to determine the purchase price (FMV) as of date of death or divorce.

Determine terms of buy out: over 5, 10 or 20 years at what interest rate. Consider life insurance to fund buy out.

Disability is another consideration.

What happens if your partner becomes disabled and incapable of working in his normal capacity.

Consider forced buy out after a certain period of time, such as one (1) year.

Number of owners – % needed to make major business decisions.

Decide how to split profits or losses of the business.

Decide capital requirements of the business.Decide whether all the owners will be active in the business or merely investors.

Transferability of interests.

Do you want to become a partner with a stranger or your partner’s children?

Consider prohibiting transfer without unanimous consent.

Management and control.

Determine who will make decisions:  Board of Directors or All Members?

Choice of calendar or fiscal years for tax purposes.

Fringe benefits and retirement plans

I have created and represented many businesses in Southeast Louisiana.  Please call me for a free consultation at (504) 261-9157.

DO YOU NEED A WILL?

The answer is yes, especially if you have small children. In the case of a common disaster, who do you want to raise your children. You should consider putting your children’s interest in trust and choose a proper trustee. This may not be the same person you want to raise your children.

The other reason for a Last Will and Testament is CONTROL. Don’t you want to control what happens to your assets upon upon your death? If you don’t have a Will, Louisiana law will determine who gets what upon your death.

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR ASSETS UPON YOUR DEATH IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL depends on what type of asset it is: community property vs. separate property.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY DEFINED

As you know, Louisiana is a community property state. If you didn’t sign a Pre-Nuptial Agreement or a Marriage Contract, anything you buy after your marriage is community property. Every dollar you earn belongs 1⁄2 to your spouse.

SEPARATE PROPERTY DEFINED

Anything you owned before your were married or anything you inherit is your separate property. However, if you inherit cash or income producing property, the interest or income from your separate property becomes community property unless you sign a Declaration of Paraphernality and record it.

SO IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL, YOU HAVE WHAT LOUISIANA LAW CALLS AN

INTESTATE ESTATE

THE FOLLOWING IS WHO INHERITS YOUR COMMUNITY ESTATE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL:

COMMUNITY PROPERTY:

SPOUSE AND CHILDREN:

Children inherit your 1⁄2 of your COMMUNITY PROPERTY subject to a usufruct in favor of your surviving spouse until the surviving spouse’s death or remarriage, whichever first occurs. So what is “usufruct”.
When you own any asset, it is made up of three parts: usus + fructus + abusus
Usus is the right to use the asset.
Fructus is the right to use the fruits or income.
Abusus is the right to sell or encumber the asset.
So at your death, your surviving spouse has the right to use all of your assets and use the income until the surviving spouse’s death or remarriage, whichever first occurs. .

SPOUSE AND NO CHILDREN:

Surviving spouse inherits community property.

NO SPOUSE BUT WITH CHILDREN:

Estate is divided equally among all children, including adopted illegitimate and adopted children.

THE FOLLOWING IS WHO INHERITS YOUR THE FOLLOWING IS WHO INHERITS YOUR COMMUNITY ESTATE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL: ESTATE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL:
SEPARATE PROPERTY:

SPOUSE AND CHILDREN:

Children inherit separate property but surviving spouse does not get a usufruct over those assets.

SPOUSE AND NO CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN:

Brothers and sisters (or their descendants) inherit, with usufruct in favor of surviving parents.

LOUISIANA LAW STILL HAS FORCED HEIRSHIP LAWS

This means if you have a child who is 24 or under or handicapped, that child or children are forced heirs and must be left a portion of your estate.
1 forced heir gets 1/4 of your estate. (Remember your estate is 1⁄2 of the community property)
2 or more forced heirs get 1⁄2 of your estate.

If children are over 24 and not handicapped or if you have no children, you can leave your entire estate to anyone you want.

BENEFITS OF A WILL

  1. Protect your surviving spouse with a USUFRUCT FOR HER LIFETIME OVER COMMUNITY PROPERTY AND SEPARATE PROPERTY.
  2. Decide who you want to raise your children.
  3. Make special bequests, i.e. automobiles, stamp collections, guns, boats, jewelry, “that speciallamp”.
  4. Anything that is not forced portion is call disposable portion. So one benefit of a will is thatyou can leave the disposable portion of your estate to anyone you want.
  5. Establish trust for children and grandchildren
    1. This is especially important when there are simultaneous death of parents.
    2. Need to decide who will raise your children like would
    3. Need a trustee who is experienced with management of funds
  6. Provide trust for children with SPECIAL NEEDS which will not jeopardize their eligibility for governmental assistance programs
  7. If you have a family business, you want to decide who will run the business upon your death.
  8. Appoint Independent Executor or Executrix
    1. Saves money on filing fees to get court authority to pay bills and sell assets.
    2. Saves money on advertising costs when selling assets.

PACKAGE DEAL includes Last Will and Testament and the following items: General Power of Attorney

A “durable” power means that the power of attorney continues to operate even if you should become incapacitated or incompetent.
A “springing” Power of Attorney which only goes into effect when 2 doctors say you are incapacitated.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A medical power permits someone you choose to make any or all other health care decisions for you if you become incompetent.

Living Will or Advanced Directive

This allows you to decide in advance your wishes regarding the use of artificial life- prolonging medical care if you become terminally ill and unable to communicate.

I have a great deal of experience in preparing Last Wills and Testaments, Powers of attorney, and Living Wills. Please call me for a free consultation at (504) 261-9157.

FORECLOSURE BY EXECUTORY PROCESS

An executory proceeding is an in rem summary proceeding wherein a Lender is allowed to seize and sell a Borrower’s property at a public auction without service of a citation and petition. Because of this, an executory process is considered a harsh remedy which requires the Lender to strictly follow the letter of the law and to attach authentic evidence of every link of evidence, with certain minor exceptions. The opening bid at the Sheriff’s Sale is two-thirds (2/3) of the appraised value, if the foreclosure is with appraisal. With appraisal means that the Lender reserves its right to seek a Deficiency Judgment against the Borrower if the proceeds from the Sheriff’s Sale does not payoff the loan in full, which rarely happens. More often than not, the lender is the purchaser at the Sheriff’s Sale. Without appraisal means that the opening bid at the Sheriff’s Sale is the cost of the sheriff, and the Lender waives its right to pursue a Deficiency Judgment. The only ways to stop a Sheriff’s Sale is to APPEAL THE WRIT OF SEIZURE AND SALE or to FILE AN INJUNCTION TO STOP THE SHERIFF’S SALE. This can be done only if there is a defect in the executory proceeding. In all cases, the Sheriff receives a three (3%) percent commission on the sale price of every Sheriff’s Sale. An injunction does not stop the Sheriff’s Sale forever, since the Lender can either amend the petition for executory process to correct the defect or convert the foreclosure to an ordinary lawsuit. However, if the property is seized improperly, the Borrower can file SUIT AGAINST THE LENDER FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL SEIZURE.

I have handled every type of foreclosure possible and have successfully obtained damages against Lenders for wrongful seizure. Please call me for a free consultation at (504) 261-9157.

FORECLOSURE BY ORDINARY PROCESS

In an ordinary lawsuit, the Lender files a regular lawsuit against the Borrower and attempts to obtain a personal judgment against the Borrower. This method is expensive and timely. Only after a judgment is obtained against the Borrower can the Lender request a writ of fiera facias through the Sheriff to have the property which is the subject of the foreclosure seized and sold at a Sheriff’s Sale. The opening bid at the Sheriff’s Sale is two-thirds (2/3) of the appraised value. The Sheriff receives a three (3%) percent commission on the sale price of every Sheriff’s Sale. If the sale price obtained at the Sheriff’s Sale does not payoff the entire loan, the Lender, which already has a judgment, has the option of seizing any other unencumbered assets of the Borrower. More often than not, it is the Lender that buys the property at the Sheriff’s Sale. The judgment obtained against the Borrower is recorded in the mortgage records and acts as a judicial mortgage against any and all property owned by the Borrower. The Lender’s judgment must be paid off before the Borrower can sell any of the his or her assets.

I have handled every type of foreclosure possible and have defended foreclosures as well. Please call me for a free consultation at (504) 261-9157.

FORECLOSURE? WAS YOUR PROPERTY SEIZED AND SOLD WITHOUT SERVICE ON YOU?

If your property was seized and sold at a Sheriff’s Sale without service upon you by the Sheriff, you have a cause of action to file a PETITION TO ANNUL THE SHERIFF’S SALE AND FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL SEIZURE. A Borrower must be served with a Notice of Seizure before the property can be sold at a Sheriff’s Sale. The Borrower SHOULD also receive a Mennonite notice with the date of the Sheriff’s Sale from the attorney who represents the Lender. If your property was sold without service on you as the owner of the property, your due process rights have been violated under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the United States Supreme Court cases of Mennonite and Mullane. THE RESULT IS THAT THE SHERIFF’S SALE IS ABSOLUTELY NULL AND VOID.

I have been successful in annulling Sheriff’s Sales. Please call me for a free consultation at (504) 261-9157.