For the majority of Louisiana estates, the succession process will be fairly straightforward, even if the deceased did not have a Last Will & Testament. However, when there is a family dispute or a question about the solvency of the estate, the process becomes more complicated.
Estates generally fall into one of two categories: those that do not require administration and those that do. We’ll take a look at the differences here.
Succession Without Administration
This type of succession is known as “simple possession” and does not require a personal representative or executor. The estate must be filed with the court, and a judgment of possession will be issued, which allows assets and property to be transferred to heirs. Simple possession applies to estates with and without a will as follows:
- With a Last Will & Testament (testate). If everyone involved with an estate, including heirs, creditors, and other family members, agrees that the testament is legitimate and accepts the terms of the testament, the estate can proceed without administration. Several documents will have to be prepared and filed with the court so that a judgment of possession can be issued, and assets can be distributed to heirs.
- Without a Last Will & Testament (intestate). If no testament exists, the court will distribute property and assets according to state law. If the estate is relatively free of debt and everyone involved agrees that administration is not needed, it will proceed in a manner similar to estates with wills. All of the heirs will be required to sign a petition for succession.
While this type of succession does not usually require that an attorney be involved, if you are confused about what documents need to be filed or concerned about any of the proceedings, you can work with a succession attorney for your own peace of mind.
Succession With Administration
Successions with full administration can be very complicated and will take a lot longer than a simple possession. If you are the executor of the will or are an heir who is concerned about your rightful inheritance, you should work with a succession attorney. Some issues that may require a full administration succession include:
- Questions about the validity of a testament
- Questions about who is entitled to inherit
- Difficulty identifying or locating heirs
- Concerns about estate debts and paying creditors
- Other disputes among family members, creditors, or other interested parties
Issues like these often lead to litigation, and you want to be sure you are represented by an experienced succession attorney to protect your rights and your loved one’s wishes.
Turn to SVHC Law When You Need a Succession Attorney
When you have questions or concerns about the succession process for your loved one’s estate, let our experience work for you. Contact us in our New Orleans office to get started today.