After a loved one passes away, you want to settle their financial affairs as quickly and easily as possible. In Louisiana, this process is known as succession. Before you begin a succession case, there are a few critical things you can do to make the process as efficient and stress-free as possible. What to do before opening a succession case

Make a List of Assets and Debts

Before you begin a succession case, you need to know what property should be included in the succession.

The asset list should include:

  • The type of property
  • Where the property is located
  • How the property is owned or titled, including the identity of any co-owners
  • How much the property is worth

The debt list should include things such as:

  • Mortgages
  • Car loans
  • Credit card debts
  • Medical bills
  • Funeral and burial costs

Some assets may pass outside of succession or be handled through the probate process in other states. However, prior to opening the case, you don’t need to know the specifics about how each asset will be handled. Later, a Louisiana succession lawyer can help you figure that out if you have a complete and accurate list of assets and debts to share with the attorney.

Determine If There Is a Will

Before a succession case proceeds, the court must know if there is a valid will. Therefore, you should determine if there is a will and where it is located.

Louisiana currently recognizes two types of wills: notarial and olographic. Notarial wills are written, dated, and signed before two witnesses and a notary public. Olographic wills are written in the handwriting of the person creating the will (the testator) and dated and signed by the testator. Wills created in other states are also recognized, as long as they are written and signed and comply with all of the laws of the other state. If there is more than one will, the most recent will is the one that will be followed.

If you can’t find the will, you should take the appropriate steps to locate it, so your loved one’s wishes may be honored. Locating the original will is critical, and if you can’t do it on your own, an attorney may help you.

In some cases, however, there is no will, and succession must proceed according to Louisiana’s intestacy laws. Property will be classified as community property or separate property. Then, property is distributed to surviving relatives such a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings, according to Louisiana law.

Create a List of Everyone Involved

To save time and to make sure that everyone is contacted as required by law, it is helpful to make a list of all debtors and potential heirs. More specifically, your list should include the names, addresses, and contact information for:

  • Any known debtors
  • Any person or organization included in your loved one’s will
  • All close relatives, such as a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, or siblings of your loved one

This way, all of the right people, businesses, or organizations can be identified and notified, as necessary, and mistakes and delays can be prevented.

Contact a Louisiana Succession Attorney

Succession cases are often time-consuming and detail-oriented. You don’t have to handle the day-to-day stress of a succession case on top of your grieving and regular obligations. Instead, it may be in your best interest to contact our experienced Louisiana succession lawyers who handle hundreds of succession cases a year. We will do everything that we can to help you through the succession process with as little stress as possible and in the most cost-effective way.

Call us, or fill out our online contact form for an initial consultation and to find out more about how we may be able to help your family.