If you’re wondering how long a succession takes in Louisiana, this article will help.
Short answer: it depends. There are many factors that go into successions and many of them determine how long a succession takes in Louisiana.
We’ve successfully completed Louisiana successions in a matter of weeks, but the average time will be two to nine months to get everything wrapped up and signed with the court. There are numerous factors that go into filing a succession in Louisiana and any one of them can lead to an issue that holds up the succession process.
Here are six factors that may affect how long a succession will take in Louisiana:
- How fast information such as assets and family members is given to your attorney. You may have siblings all over the world and it may take time to locate them. Also, assets must be located and valued to go into the Detailed Descriptive List that’s provided to the court. You must also calculate estate debts.
- Are the parties working together? Successions can cause strife among siblings and family members which can delay proceedings. Information must be gathered and organized to give to your attorney. Many situations involve one family member having access to some assets, while others know information about different assets. It goes much faster if all family members work together to provide information to the attorney.
- How quickly signatures are submitted. Louisiana successions require notarized signatures for many succession documents. It may take longer if required parties don’t make themselves available to sign.
- How long it takes the Clerk of Court to intake the paperwork and assign it to a judge.
- How quickly the assigned judge works the file. Courts can easily get backed up which makes getting a signature take much longer. This is especially true during Covid-19.
- How much paperwork is involved or if mistakes are made. Louisiana successions can take a great deal of paperwork to complete. You have to account for a large amount of property and heirs in some cases. Heirs may live outside of Louisiana and can take a long time to respond to the attorney. Also, mistakes can extend the time it takes to complete a succession. Heirs may be left off of the paperwork or new siblings may be located. All of this may cause the succession to take longer to finish.
What is a succession in Louisiana?
A Louisiana succession is the transmission of the estate of the deceased to his/her successors. The succession process is also known as probate and is overseen by the court. The successors have the right to take possession of the estate of the deceased once they have complied with Louisiana succession law. There are two main types of successions: testate (with a will) and intestate (no will). You can read more about the differences HERE.
What is the succession process?
First, a petition must be filed with the court to open the succession. The filings must include the Last Will and Testament (if one exists), an original death certificate and the required affidavits in order to comply with Louisiana probate law. You want to make sure ALL of the Louisiana succession rules are followed or you risk the succession taking even longer to complete and costing more in legal fees.
Next, the property of the individual must be listed in a detailed descriptive list. The property must be described fully and valued. This part of the succession normally takes the longest because many people have property spread out over the state of Louisiana and other states. Each item must be located and added to the succession petition. This includes movables such as vehicles, as well as immovables. This could also determine which parish in Louisiana the succession will be filed. Read this article on “In what parish do I file a Louisiana succession” to learn more about where to file a succession.
Lastly, the petition to close the succession must be filed. This is usually in the form of a Judgement of Possession. If everything has been submitted correctly and no one has stepped forward to contest the succession such as the validity of the will, the judge will then sign the judgment and place successors into possession of the assets. This will close the succession.
If the property of the deceased is known and the heirs agree to accept the succession without fighting, the process can be completed in a few weeks. A more complex Louisiana succession may take months or longer to complete, especially if litigation is involved. On average, we inform clients it will take two to nine months.
A dispute between heirs can be one of the hardest things a family can go through. It can cause financial consequences and make communication difficult. Unfortunately, we see this a lot. Many disputes can be worked out, but some cannot and require expensive litigation. An example is when a party brings an action to invalidate the will. This can considerably add to the expense and time involved with a Louisiana succession.
At the Andries Law Firm, we help families with their succession matters as efficiently as possible. We understand how difficult this situation can be for you, both financially and emotionally. It’s tough to put the pieces together when you’ve just lost a loved one. Our attorneys can help you manage the situation and direct you on what steps need to be taken to protect and care for your loved ones. Call us for a consultation at (318) 269-5857 or email Jerome@AndriesLawFirm.com
This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Using this site or communicating with Andries Law Firm, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.
R. Jerome Andries
Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (318) 269-5857