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Louisiana Legal Resources

Overview of the Louisiana Court System

There are four tiers of court in the Louisiana court system. The lowest tier of courts consists of the city and parish Courts and the Justice of the Peace courts. These handle minor traffic infractions, small civil cases and preliminary hearings. Decisions made in these courts can be appealed to the district courts, which consist of family courts and juvenile courts as well as the main jury courts. All probate, civil and criminal trials are held in the district courts.

Decisions made in the district courts can be appealed to the Court of Appeals, which can overturn or uphold the decisions made in the lower courts. Decisions made by the Court of Appeals can be appealed to the Supreme Court, which handles general administrative tasks for the judicial system as well as serves as the court of last resort in Louisiana. It also exclusively handles death penalty appeals from the district courts.

Louisiana Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Louisiana attorney by location and by practice area. We have Louisiana attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

Louisiana Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Louisiana legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

If you plan on renting a property, you can use LawInfo's free Louisiana Residential Lease Agreement to ensure a binding agreement with tenants before they have access to your home or real estate property. This is an important way to mitigate the risks of landlord/tenant issues, and your legal liabilities are far less with a properly executed contract. While it can be a sound financial decision to rent a property to help pay off a mortgage or get additional income, you should practice prudent legal judgment as well.

It is important to create a will before you die so that you can have control over the passage of your possessions. If you die without a will, you are deemed "intestate" and subject to state probate laws that govern who gets what. If you want your assets and heirlooms to pass according to your wishes, it is a good idea to have a Last Will and Testament on file. LawInfo provides free Last Will and Testament documents to put your wishes into writing.

Another way to plan for the future is through establishing Power of Attorney documents. If you are ever incapacitated or unable to make your own decisions due to physical or mental impairment, a Power of Attorney document states that another person can make legal, financial and medical decisions for you on your behalf. LawInfo provides free Power of Attorney documents for your convenience.

Starting a Louisiana Business

Starting a business in Louisiana is an exciting process, but you need to know what you're getting into. You can find excellent free resources at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center that can help you with the basics involved in getting started, including finding a target market, developing a sound business plan and getting funding. You can find mentors, business training opportunities and specialists. This resource will help you get started on the right foot so you can make good decisions going forward.

Once you've settled on a business plan, you need to choose the right business structure. Structures vary as far as tax and liability implications go. For example, sole proprietorships don't have to deal with incorporation taxes and documentation, but they involve extensive personal investment and risk. On the other hand, a corporation shields your personal assets and is good for expansion, but there may be higher taxes and fees.

Louisiana Business Statistics

Small businesses employ 54.5 percent of the Louisiana private-sector work force. The unemployment rate was around 7 percent through 2013, which was average for the country.

Louisiana is home to nearly 420,000 small businesses, accounting for 97.4 percent of employers. The gross state product increased by 6.6 percent in 2010, outpacing the rest of the country. Large business presence was also significant. In 2010, there were 2,131 large employers in Louisiana, including major Fortune 500 companies CenturyLink (CTL), Entergy (ETR) and Shaw Group (SHAW).