This is a question that we receive often. It’s fairly easy for people to acquire property in different parishes, especially when they’ve been married and divorced a time or two. An ever changing job market sends people across parish and state lines and back again and this can create a headache when the time comes to split up property between heirs.
We’re here to help you with your Louisiana succession here at the Andries Law Firm. At this point, you are probably dealing with a great deal of stress after the recent passing of a loved one or you are plotting out ways to make it easier on your heirs when you pass. Either way, we are here to help you along the way.
We highly recommend that you speak with an experienced Louisiana succession attorney at the Andries Law Firm to get additional information that may not be covered in this article.
Where do I file a succession in Louisiana?
The Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides us with the answer:
A proceeding to open a succession shall be brought in the district court of the parish where the deceased was domiciled at the time of his death.
If the deceased was not domiciled in the state at the time of his death, his succession may be opened in the district court of any parish where:
- Immovable property of the deceased is situated; or,
- Movable property of the deceased is situated, if he owned no immovable property in the state at the time of his death.
Let’s break that code article down and explain it better. No matter where a person may have property situated in the state, his/her succession is to be opened in the district court of the parish where he/she was domiciled when he/she died. What does domicile mean in Louisiana? This is an important distinction when determining where to file such matters as a divorce or succession.
The domicile of a person is the place of his habitual residence. A person may live in multiple places, but can only have one domicile. This means you can own numerous homes, but your domicile is where you intend to stay.
In determining which parish to file a Louisiana succession, you must determine domicile to know which district court to file the petition. For example: Bob owns three homes, one in Rapides parish, Avoyelles parish and Grant parish. His main home is in Rapides parish where he dies. His parish of last domicile was Rapides Parish and that is where his succession will be filed.
Now that you have a better understanding of domicile in Louisiana, let’s say the deceased had moved out of Louisiana, but still had some of the homes when he died. You would then file the succession in the district court of any parish where the immovable property (homes) are located.
Sounds easy? What if the deceased had sold the homes and moved out of state before dying? In that case, you look to find movables such as vehicles or trailers and file in the parish where that property is located.
Most Louisiana successions are filed in the parish where the person died, but I wanted you to be aware that there are other scenarios to consider.
Is a Louisiana Succession Necessary? Is Probate Required in Louisiana?
A succession is a vehicle in which to transfer the estate of the deceased to his successors. This gives the successors the right to take possession of the estate and property of the deceased upon complying with Louisiana succession law.
A succession in required in Louisiana whether a person dies with a will (testate) or without a will (intestate), unless there is another way to transfer the assets to heirs. Life insurance, annuities, retirement accounts and IRAs require beneficiary designations and thus have the ability to go directly to the beneficiaries named in the paperwork on the account. This is a great reason to purchase life insurance for your heirs in Louisiana. In these instances, the beneficiary to the account can submit a certified death certificate and a beneficiary claim form to have these assets turned over to them.
Any other assets the deceased may have had will likely have to go through the probate process. This includes movables such as vehicles and trailers, as well as immovable such as homes and rental properties. Assets the deceased had in his/her name will not be available to anyone else until the succession is opened. This includes children. Many people believe that adult children automatically control the succession, but this is not true, especially when there is a valid Louisiana Last Will & Testament in place.
To answer the question as to whether a succession in Louisiana is necessary, it usually is, but you can set an appointment with us to determine what and where you need to file.
How much does it cost to open a Succession in Louisiana?
This is another question our law firm received regularly. It really depends. Each parish is different, but usually ranges anywhere from $300 to $700 just to file the paperwork. I have seen differences of $150 or more just based on parish filing fee differences.
Attorney fees for preparing Louisiana successions range depending on whether you are dealing with a small succession or a large and complicated succession that is contested. Legal fees for Louisiana successions can range from $1,500 to upwards of $10,000. A typical regular succession that requires filing in the courthouse seems to average roughly $2,500 plus filing fees depending on parish.
Set an appointment with us to determine pricing based on your situation. We do succession work in parishes all around the state and can help you with your situation.
Louisiana successions can add more stress to an already difficult situation. You may have just lost a loved one and are scrambling to try and put the pieces together and figure out what to do next. Call the Andries Law Firm and we will gladly walk you through the process and answer your questions. You can schedule an appointment with an experienced Louisiana Succession Attorney by calling (318) 229-1608 or send us an email.
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