Louisiana is a unique state when it comes to estate planning and probate law. In Louisiana, there are two types of succession: intestate succession and testamentary succession. Intestate succession occurs when a person dies without a will, while testamentary succession occurs when a person dies with a valid will. In this blog post, we will focus on what happens if there’s a will and explain Louisiana law on succession proceedings with a will.
When a person dies with a will, their property will pass according to the terms of the will. The person named in the will as the executor, also known as the “executrix” if a woman, is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. The executor’s first task is to file the will with the appropriate court in the parish where the deceased resided. This starts the probate process.
The probate process in Louisiana involves verifying the validity of the will, paying the deceased’s debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets according to the terms of the will. The executor has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the deceased’s estate and the beneficiaries named in the will.
It’s important to note that in Louisiana, there are forced heirship laws that provide certain heirs with protection against disinheritance. Forced heirship means that a certain percentage of the estate must be left to the forced heirs. A forced heir is a child who is under the age of 24, or a child of any age who is permanently disabled.
If the will does not comply with forced heirship laws, the forced heirs may have a right to claim their share of the estate. If a forced heir is not provided with their share, they may have the right to challenge the will in court.
In Louisiana, there is also the concept of community property. This means that property acquired during the marriage is owned equally by both spouses, regardless of who earned the income. In a will, a spouse may leave their share of the community property to whomever they choose, but they cannot leave the other spouse without their rightful share.
In summary, if a person dies with a valid will in Louisiana, their property will pass according to the terms of the will, as long as it complies with forced heirship laws and community property laws. The executor named in the will is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will and must act in the best interest of the estate and the beneficiaries. If you need help navigating the complex world of Louisiana probate law, it’s best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Morrison Law Group in Metairie, LA is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.