How To Probate A Will In Louisiana

In Louisiana, the process of transferring the assets of a deceased person to his or her heirs is referred to as probate or succession. Knowing how to probate a will in Louisiana can help the heirs of an estate have an easier succession process after a loved one dies.

Estate Attorneys

RECOGNITION

In Louisiana, the process of transferring the assets of a deceased person to his or her heirs is referred to as probate or succession. Knowing how to probate a will in Louisiana can help the heirs of an estate have an easier succession process after a loved one dies.

Types of Succession

Successions in Louisiana fall into two categories: testate and intestate. Intestate succession is the process that is followed when the deceased did not have a will. Testate succession occurs when a will is present. The key difference is in how the heirs of the estate are determined.

With testate succession, property will be distributed among beneficiaries according to the deceased’s will. During intestate succession, with no will to follow, Louisiana’s intestacy laws dictate which heirs receive which portion of the estate.

The type and value of an estate can also affect the manner in which a will is probated in Louisiana. For example, if the deceased had less than $75,000 in assets and did not own any real estate property, then the estate could quality for a small succession affidavit. In this type of succession, a court filing is not necessary to transfer the assets.

For estates with more than $75,000 in assets, a normal succession process is needed.

The Process of Probating a Will in Louisiana

The first step in probating a will in Louisiana is to open a succession in the state district court in the parish where the deceased person resided at the time of his or her death.

Next, a succession representative will be designated to oversee the administration of the estate. The representative should be named in the deceased’s will. If no representative is named, or if there was no will, the court will appoint a representative. This person is also sometimes known as an executor or personal representative.

Once succession is opened, the representative will get a legal document that grants them authority to act on behalf of the estate. This allows the representative to organize and manage estate assets, including opening and transferring funds in an estate account.

This representative will be responsible for several important duties in the probate process:

  • Inventory the estate assets
  • Pay debts of the estate
  • File final tax returns
  • Distribute assets to the estate heirs

When Is Succession Not Necessary

Sometimes, a succession process is not necessary. For example, if all assets are non-probate assets, then probate can be avoided. Non-probate assets are:

  • Life insurance
  • Annuities
  • Retirement plans

These accounts typically have a beneficiary named, and so the account passes directly to that individual.

Another example of when succession isn’t needed is if all estate assets are in a trust. Trust assets can be passed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust, without a probate process.

When a loved one dies, dealing with the probate process in Louisiana can be an overwhelming burden, even with small estates. A New Orleans probate attorney at Barrios Kingsdorf & Casteix can explain the options, make sure you understand the law and how it applies in your situation, and guide you through the process of succession.