How Probate Laws Work in Louisiana

If you recently lost a loved one, you are probably dealing with a lot right now. One thing you must consider is what happens to the estate. Dealing with the assets of the deceased person cannot be put off.

Probate is a legal term that describes the process of distributing the assets of the decedent and resolving the debts. The court oversees this process.

Is Probate Required in Louisiana?

Probate is usually required in Louisiana. However, it is known as succession in this state. Louisiana has a unique probate process compared to other states, which is based in part on French law. In some cases, an informal type of succession may be acceptable if the estate meets the requirements. There are times when the heirs may avoid probate to transfer the assets of the estate. Probate or succession isn’t necessary if the value of the estate is less than $75,000. Only an affidavit is necessary to allow the heirs to take ownership of the assets.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Louisiana?

To avoid probate in Louisiana, the best option is to put all assets in a revocable living trust. When you do this, the assets automatically transfer to the beneficiary without the need to go through probate.

Another way to avoid probate is to name a beneficiary other than the estate for the asset. For instance, life insurance policies usually have a beneficiary and bank accounts can list someone as payable on death.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Louisiana be Compensated?

The law in Louisiana allows for the executor or representative of an estate to be paid. However, CPP Article 3351.1 provides for a limitation of payment to the executor if they serve as a managing partner, attorney or corporate officer. No compensation will be paid until it is approved by the court.

How Much Does an Executor Get Paid?

Chapter 10 of Article 3351 in the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedures deals with the compensation of a representative. The statute allows for reasonable compensation. If the will outlines the amount of payment, it is the guideline to be followed. If it isn’t addressed in the will or no will exists, the executor is entitled to 2-1/2 percent of the value of the assets as compensation. The executor must show that the amount of normal compensation is not adequate to receive additional payment.

How Long Does Probate Take in Louisiana?

The amount of time for probate or succession will vary in Louisiana. A smaller estate will generally take less time than one that has numerous assets. If the will is contested or other delays occur, it will lengthen the timeline of the process. By the time the executor takes inventory and creditors have an opportunity to submit claims, it will be at least six months. Expect succession to take from six months to a year before the final assets may be distributed to the heirs. In complicated situations, that timeline may be extended to several years.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Louisiana?

Not all estates will need to go through probate in Louisiana. If all assets are in a revocable living trust or have a named beneficiary, probate isn’t necessary. If the property is worth less than $75,000, there is no need for probate as long as no one contests the distribution of the assets.

Does a Will Have to be Probated in Louisiana?

A will must be probated in Louisiana to verify that it is valid. The will must be filed with the court in the parish where the deceased person lived before probate can begin. The job of the court is to ensure the wishes of the decedent are honored as stated in the will. Louisiana is the only state that allows for a private will, which means it was written by the decedent privately with no witnesses and sealed.

Settling an Estate in Louisiana

To settle an estate in Louisiana requires following specific guidelines. It is important to meet the deadlines and complete all the steps in the process.

How Long Do You Have to File Probate After a Death in Louisiana?

There is technically no deadline for when you must file probate or succession in Louisiana. You can file a will up to five years after succession has been opened. This often happens when a new will is found which is dated after the one recorded with the court. It is best to file probate as quickly as possible after the person’s death because the assets cannot be transferred to the new owner until probate takes place.

Probate Court in Louisiana

Probate or succession takes place in the district court of the parish where the deceased person lived. If the decedent didn’t live in the state, probate would be held where the decedent’s property was located as outlined in Book VI of Article 2811 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedures.

Probate Code in Louisiana

Probate law in Louisiana is governed by the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure and the Civil Code. Specifically, you can find statutes on succession and wills starting in CC 1575 https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Laws_Toc.aspx?folder=67&level=Parent.

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