Probate: It’s Not as Scary as You Think WRITTEN BY CHRISTIE TOURNET
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IN LOUISIANA, PROBATE is also called a “succession.” Succession is the avenue for the deceased person’s beneficiaries to receive title to assets, including real estate and vehicles, and it provides access to bank and investment accounts. Often, people are initially apprehensive to open succession after hearing accounts from residents of other states with more lengthy and costly processes. Fortunately, Louisiana provides several quick and cost-effective routes to complete a succession. The Small Succession Affidavit. This process is available, if the deceased did not have a will (or had a will probated outside of Louisiana), had property valued at $125,000.00 or less, and the heirs meet the statute’s requirements. This process requires no judicial filings, but only recordation of the affidavit, if real estate is involved. Succession Without an Administration. Administration is not required, if the deceased did not owe significant debts and the property can be easily divided among all heirs. The process is limited to gathering the deceased’s asset and debt information and filing the pleadings to immediately place the heirs (or legatees, if a will exists) in possession. This avenue can be relatively quick (most often within 30 days) and affordable. Independent Administration. Sometimes, administration of the estate may be needed to gather complete information or sell an asset. Still, the beneficiaries can proceed with this streamlined method, if the deceased left a will permitting it, or if all intestate (no will) heirs agree. The administrator proceeds without having to obtain court approval for all actions, and this process can still be relatively quick and affordable. It is best for beneficiaries to confirm the appropriate avenue with counsel and start succession earlier than later, as time passage permits greater chance for lost documents and difficulty in attaining good values and coordinating beneficiaries.
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Christie Tournet & Associates, LLC, provides estate planning, estate administration and commercial law services. The practice is located at 1795 W. Causeway Approach, Suite 103A in Mandeville. 985-951-2177, tournetlaw.com.