Introduction To The Probate Process In Louisiana

An individual who passes away intestate in the state of Louisiana has died without a will. Contrary to popular opinion, a spouse does not always receive the assets of his or her significant other who passes away without a will. Rather, the probate process in Louisiana takes its course. Let’s take a quick look at what Louisiana probate laws are all about.

Louisiana Succession

Introduction To The Probate Process In Louisiana with Niswanger Law in Monroe, La. image of judge's upper body sitting at chair hitting gavel in courtroom with baileff in background

The state of Louisiana’s probate process is referred to as succession. In short, Louisiana succession is the court process for changing the title to assets from an individual who has passed away to heirs. Louisiana laws state the term of “estate” refers to property, obligations and rights an individual leaves after passing away, inclusive of obligations and rights that do not arise until after passing away.

The overarching aim of succession in Monroe La is to make it clear as to which individuals have title to the decedent’s assets. The court provides a Judgment of Possession during succession to transfer the title of the deceased individual’s assets. If the succession process were not in place, no one would have legal claim to the assets of the decedent.

The Necessity of Succession

There are some instances in which successions are unnecessary. As an example, if the individual who passes away does not have assets, there is nothing to disperse to that individual’s relatives. Furthermore, certain assets such as specific retirement plans, insurance policies, annuities and IRAs are not included under the umbrella of Louisiana succession. Such non-probate assets are automatically passed on to the beneficiary previously identified without the court playing a role.

The Probate Process

It is particularly interesting to note there is no deadline for filing probate in Louisiana. A will can be filed up to half a decade after the opening of succession. As an example, if the decedent’s will is found a couple years after passing away and the date of the document is after that of the one recorded through the court, the will will likely be considered a valid legal document. The actual probate process occurs in the parish district court where the individual in question resided. Probate for a decedent who did not live in Louisiana will take place where that individual’s property was located as detailed within the state’s Code of Civil Procedures.

Once the succession is opened in the appropriate state district court, the succession representative is designated to oversee the estate’s administration. The court appoints a representative if there is no will. This individual is also known as an executor. This individual is provided with a legal document that provides authority to act on the estate’s behalf, empowering him or her to manage and organize estate assets including the movement of funds within an estate account. The representative takes an inventory of the estate assets, pays the estate’s debts, files the final tax returns and provides assets to the heirs of the estate.

Contact Niswanger Law Today

Our legal team is here to help with your estate planning needs. Reach out to us today to find out how our legal team can help you plan for the future and ensure your loved ones are in the best possible position after you depart this plane of existence. Dial 318.953.0071 or fill out our contact form to schedule an initial consultation.