We always recommended that our clients plan ahead and complete the proper estate planning documents before their own passing or the passing of a loved one; however, many of our clients are people who suddenly find themselves managing and inheriting property that has been passed down several generations. In most cases, the property has simply changed names at the Tax Assessor’s Office without any succession or legal proceedings transferring the title as required by law.

Steps to Legally Sell Property From a Loved One's Estate

If you find yourself in charge of taking care of the estate of a loved one, there are several important steps to take before you can successfully sell their real estate or property. 

  1. Open a succession. In Louisiana, the term “succession” is used to refer to the legal process of passing ownership from a decedent (the person who passed away) to their beneficiaries, legatees, or heirs, and closing out their estate.
    1. There are several different types of successions in Louisiana: small successions, simple possessions, and successions under administration.
    2. Some successions involve a Last Will and Testament, which is called a “testate” succession, and a succession without a Last Will and Testament is called an “intestate” succession.
    3. Each estate is different, and each type of succession applies to each various type of estate. At Scott | Vicknair, our Succession Attorneys are experienced, dedicated, and ready to assist you every step of the way in whatever type of succession your loved one’s estate requires.
  2. Transfer any titles from the decedent to the heirs or legatees. The title of any property, real estate or otherwise, must change to the heirs and legatees of the decedent for there to be a sale of the property. Most successions simply place the heirs or legatees of the decedent in possession of the decedent’s property. If there is to be a sale of the property, though, the property must be transferred out of the decedent’s name and to the parties participating in the sale. This sometimes involves title work and land records transfers, all of which we handle here for you at Scott | Vicknair.
  3. Have patience. While most successions can be handled within a relatively short amount of time, there is always a chance that you may run into complications with the estate or uncooperative family members. Everything takes time when a sale of property is involved, and sometimes depending on the type of succession, the court requires certain formalities before a sale can even be started. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you seek the counsel of an experienced Succession Attorney.
  4. Proceed with the sale. Once the heirs or legatees are placed into possession of the property or the court has approved a sale, the sale of the property may proceed!
  5. Close the succession. Once the sale is completed, the succession can be closed.

What to Do When Your Spouse Has Passed Away

If the loved one who has passed was your spouse, you may not be able to stay in your home if the property was purchased by your spouse prior to your marriage or the property was inherited by your spouse. In Louisiana, without the proper estate planning, the surviving spouse does not automatically inherit the deceased spouse’s property. To avoid such a predicament, seek the counsel of an estate planning attorney in advance.

Contact Us Today

Scott | Vicknair Law, Estate & Probate Division helps hundreds of families in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana every year with their estate and succession issues. We understand how difficult it can be to handle the legal aspects of settling an estate while grieving a loved one and are committed to making the process as simple as possible for our clients. Call our office today to discuss your options and how we can guide you through the process that makes the most sense for your situation.