According to Article 871 of Louisiana Civil Code, succession is “the transmission of the estate of the deceased to his successors. The successors thus have the right to take possession of the estate of the deceased after complying with applicable provisions of law.” Filing for succession is a legal process that is handled through the civil court system. A judge oversees the process and makes final judgment on the case. Successors have an immediate right to possession after this process is complete.
Filing for a Succession in Louisiana
Gather information of the deceased. You will file information that includes the official death certificate, legal residence of the deceased and any living will that legally states the deceased’s wishes. If the deceased appointed an executor to the will, that person will be the representative for all affairs related to distributing property to heirs. If no executor is named, the court will appoint an executor. Put together all bills related to funeral costs and any stocks and bonds of the deceased as well as bank statements.
Contact a probate law attorney in Louisiana. Due to the perplexity of many succession cases, it is best to hire a lawyer who will guide you through the process. The lawyer will provide you with a list of any additional documents that need to be filed with the living will. If there is no living will, the lawyer will explain the probate system processes to you. The lawyer has all heirs sign paperwork before filing. The constitution of Louisiana states that all children of the deceased under the age of 23 are “forced heirs” and each is entitled to at least 25 percent of the estate value. If heirs are minors, information regarding custody must be presented to the court. The estate must be distributed evenly to all forced heirs before other claims to property are made.
File paperwork immediately with the court. Delaying the succession process can lead to deteriorated value of assets, and interest and tax increases. Pay any urgent debts owed by the deceased and obtain access to any safe deposit boxes. In addition to documents being filed and signed, your lawyer will file a state income tax return. In Louisiana, the surviving spouse does not pay taxes, just heirs. Inheritance taxes must be paid before the final judgment is made. If there are disputes among heirs, the succession process may be drawn out, sometimes over years. The succession process can occur in a few weeks' time when all necessary paperwork is filed with the court and all parties are in agreement.
Read and sign the final judgment order. The final judgment of possession is ordered by the judge after all material has been presented to the court. This judgment must be signed by all parties involved in the succession, and property is distributed and transferred immediately upon signing.
A copywriter and publicist, Brooke Ashley has been writing professionally since 1998. Her poetic work has been published in "Maverick Magazine" and her Web content is featured on Autogeek.net. Ashley earned her Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the State University of New York at New Paltz.