Wills and Successions

Wills & Successions in Louisiana What Are Successions?

Called probate in other states, the term succession refers to the distribution of property after the passing of an individual. After being appointed by a judge, a succession representative must collect and manage assets, pay debts and taxes, and distribute remaining property to heirs and beneficiaries. They are also responsible for presenting any wills to the court and submitting a plan to the judge for concluding the succession.

If the decedent, or deceased person, left a will, the succession representative will be called an executor. If the decedent did not leave a valid will, the succession representative will be referred to as the administrator. Navigating the process can be emotional and very trying. It’s best to get familiar with the process (here are some common terms and definitions) and to have legal representation to help guide you through the process.

Forced Heirs in Louisiana

Children under 24 years of age at the time of the decedent's passing and children with permanent disabilities are considered forced heirs. Grandchildren of the decedent can also be forced heirs if their parent would have been under the age of 24 or permanently incapacitated at the time of their grandparent's passing. The amount the heirs will receive is called the "forced portion" or "legitime" and depends on the number of forced heirs and the size of the estate. If there is one forced heir, he or she will receive one-quarter of the estate.

Multiple forced heirs will share half of the estate equally.

How Is Property Distributed?

The distribution of probate property depends on the presence of a valid will. A valid will can distribute property however the decedent would like, with the exception of forced heirs. Although forced heirs are required to receive a portion of the estate, a valid will can give the surviving spouse a lifetime usufruct over the forced portion. The usufruct would allow the surviving spouse to use the property without owning it. If the decedent did not leave a valid will, his or her property will be distributed according to Louisiana intestate laws, which may benefit surviving children, spouses, parents, and siblings.

Seek Personalized Assistance from James A. Graham

Losing a loved one is difficult, and dealing with succession while you are still grieving can make the process even more challenging. James A Graham is there for you. He is a caring attorney who believes that his business is built on strong personal relationships with clients in St. Tammany and Orleans Parish. To learn more about your options and obligations, take advantage of our free consultation today by contacting us at 985.202.8110 or email us at info@jamesgrahamlaw.com.

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