Have you experienced the death of a loved one and now must distribute their estate? In this emotional time, the legal hurdles to settling an estate can seem daunting. A Louisiana estate planning attorney can assist you with estate distribution.
The complexities involved in distributing your loved one’s estate depend on their estate plan. Estate administrators often wonder if Louisiana succession is a required step in distributing an estate. Here, our estate attorneys provide information on Louisiana succession that will give you an overview of this complicated topic. If you would like to learn more about Louisiana succession, contact our estate attorneys at the Johns Law Firm for a free consultation.
What Is a Succession?
Succession is the usual process of settling the estate of a deceased person in Louisiana. In other states, succession may be called probate. Succession can be simple or complicated depending on the size of the estate, the decedent’s debts, and whether heirs challenge the distribution.
Unadministered vs. Administered Succession
In Louisiana, succession may be administered or unadministered, depending on the estate specifics.
In an administered succession, the court appoints a personal representative (also referred to as an executor) to oversee the distribution of the estate.
Administered succession is necessary in these circumstances:
- A person dies without a will,
- The person’s heirs are unknown or can’t be located,
- The estate has debts to pay before distribution, or
- There is a dispute among heirs as to the distribution of the estate.
The personal representative works out succession details and presents the court with a tableau of distribution. This lists how the administrator will distribute assets and pay debts of the estate.
Unadministered succession does not require a personal representative to oversee the estate distribution. When the decedent has a will, unadministered succession requires these things:
- All heirs named in the will are competent or have competent representatives,
- All heirs accept the terms of the will, and
- No creditors have requested a court administered succession.
If someone dies without a will, their property goes through intestate succession with heirs determined according to Louisiana law. Unadministered intestate succession must meet these requirements:
- The estate does not owe significant debt, and
- All parties agree to the unadministered succession.
Most estates with significant assets in Louisiana will go through succession. However, with a limited estate of less than $75,000 or careful estate planning, some people may avoid succession.
Do You Have to Do a Succession in Louisiana?
If a person’s estate consists exclusively of these non-probate assets with named beneficiaries, then succession is not required:
- Life insurance policies,
- Retirement plans, and
- Payable-on-death bank accounts.
A few other circumstances enable you to distribute estate assets yet avoid succession. Estates of less than $75,000 may be transferred by affidavit, avoiding succession. Vehicle titles can also be transferred by affidavit without succession.
What Documents Are Required for Succession?
Your succession attorney will need to obtain the following Louisiana succession forms to distribute the estate successfully:
- The will (if available),
- An Affidavit of Death, Domicile and Heirship,
- A petition for possession,
- A sworn detailed list of assets and liabilities,
- A petition for probate of the will, and
- A judgment of possession.
Bring the will and other relevant documents to a Louisiana succession attorney to allow the succession process to resolve as quickly as possible.
Do You Need Help from a Louisiana Succession Attorney?
You should open a succession soon after your loved one’s death to efficiently distribute the estate. Waiting years to open a succession can complicate tax matters and distribution. If estate distribution seems overwhelming, a Louisiana succession attorney can help.The attorneys at the Johns Law Firm handle estate planning and distribution with compassion and skill. Our attorneys know that the succession process can be a stressful time for grieving family members. We want to ease your burden by assisting with efficient and fair estate distribution. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we can discuss your estate succession concerns.