During your marriage, you and your spouse will likely acquire property. Louisiana law recognizes your marriage partnership and classifies most property acquired during marriage as community property that belongs to both spouses.
When one spouse dies, one-half of the community property immediately becomes the separate property of the surviving spouse. But if there is no will, it’s important to understand what happens to the deceased spouse’s half of the community property.
Louisiana Community Property Intestacy Laws
If your spouse died without a will, your spouse’s property will be distributed according to Louisiana’s intestacy laws. The distribution of the community property depends on whether the spouse who died had descendants:
- With descendants (children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren). Your spouse’s one-half of the community property becomes the property of your spouse’s children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. However, Louisiana law gives you a usufruct interest in the property. That means. you may continue to use the property until you die or remarry.
- Without descendants. If your spouse died without any descendants, all of your spouse’s community property becomes your separate property. You will own your share and your spouse’s share of the community property outright as separate property once your spouse’s succession case is settled.
Louisiana’s intestacy laws clearly establish who should inherit community property. However, the classification and distribution of property may still be complicated. For example, you and other potential heirs may disagree about whether certain property is community property or separate property or about the valuation of some property.
In these cases, an experienced Louisiana succession lawyer can make sure that all of your rights are protected. Each year, we help hundreds of families across Louisiana resolve succession issues. We encourage you to contact us directly at our New Orleans law office or North Shore law office if your spouse has died without a will in Louisiana. Our succession attorneys will help you resolve any issues as easily and cost-effectively as possible.