The cost of succession in Louisiana will vary depending on the many factors including the value of the estate, if administration of the estate is necessary, and most importantly whether the heirs of the estate are cooperative. Succession costs for smaller estates with cooperative heirs will typically range from $1,500.00 to $3,000.00. Succession costs for larger estates that require administration will typically range from $5,000.00 up to $15,000.00 depending on what needs to be done. If litigation is necessary because of estate disputes, the cost will greatly depend on complexity of the legal issues and the amount of time that will be needed to resolve the disputes.
How Much Will Succession Cost?
There are many different costs involved with opening succession in Louisiana that may be applicable. These include attorney fees, court costs, recordation fees, executor fees, cost of obtaining a bond, publication costs, , and other expenses. Some or all of these expenses may be necessary depending on what needs to be done to handle the estate.
Attorney fees will likely be the largest expense necessary for handling an estate. Most attorneys charge either by the hour or a flat fee for their services. Generally, attorney fees are lower for simpler estate where the heirs are cooperative. The expense for attorney fees goes up as the estate becomes more complex or disputes and disagreements arise between the heirs.
For simple successions, court costs can range from $300.00 to $600.00 depending on the parish where the succession will be filed. When an administration is needed for an estate, court costs will be higher depending on the filings necessary to complete the administration and can range from $1,500.00 up to $3,000.00.
Executor and Administrator Fees
If an administration of the estate is necessary, the court will appoint an executor or an administrator to handle the administration process. Under Louisiana law, the executor or administrator may seek compensation in the amount of 2.5% of the value of the estate. In many cases when it is a family member serving in this position, they waive the collection of this fee.
Unless waived in a Last Will and Testament or by the heirs, the person appointed as the executor or administrator of the estate will have to post a bond in order to be appointed. The bond protects the heirs and creditors in the event the executor or administrator mishandles the estate. Under Louisiana law, the bond is typically required to be 1.25 times the value of the estate. Upon request, the court will sometimes reduce the amount of the bond such as when the estate is comprised only of real estate that can not be easily disposed of and there are other safeguards to protect the heirs and creditors. If a bond is necessary and a commercial surety is used, there will be fees for obtaining the bond that can range from 1% to 5% of the estate value.
Publication and Notice Costs
When a succession is under administration and the executor or administrator is not appointed as "independent," he or she will be required to seek court authority before paying expenses using estate funds or selling any estate property or assets. Most of the time in order to obtain court authority, there is a legal requirement that the notice of the action to be taken first be published in the newspaper to give creditors and heirs notice of what is going on. If the creditor or heir disagrees with the action to be taken, they can file an opposition with the court. Publication costs can be expensive and range from $200.00 to $700.00 for every time a publication is necessary for a step in the administration of the estate.
There are may costs and expenses necessary to complete an estate in Louisiana. An experienced succession attorney can help find the most cost-efficient ways to handle an estate in order to reduce the costs as much as possible.
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