This is a question we get often and the answer completely depends on your case.
Succession costs vary immensely depending on the complexity of the situation and what type of legal representation is involved. You will encounter a number of fees when filing a succession in Louisiana including, but not limited to: attorney fees, court filing fees, real estate fees, accounting fees and fees for the executor of the estate. It’s difficult to assess these fees until we hear your particular story as they vary widely from case to case.
What Does Succession Mean?
A succession in Louisiana is basically the procedure that settles a deceased individual’s estate. It’s the way property is distributed to heirs either according to a valid will or via Louisiana intestate laws if there was not a will. You may have heard the term “Probate” which is the same thing. In fact, these terms are often interchangeable depending on who you speak with. There are many types of Louisiana successions that depend on the type of property and situation.
How Much Does a Succession Cost in Louisiana?
Louisiana succession costs vary widely depending on the facts of the case. It’s hard to give an estimate without hearing the situation. We have to determine the type of successions to file and the number of hours it will take. There are a few factors that go into our pricing of a succession such as:
- Was there a will?
- Is anyone contesting the succession?
- The heirs’ locations
- The type of property in the succession
- The estimate of the value of the estate
- Location of the property
We take these factors into consideration when quoting a succession.
Louisiana Affidavit of Small Succession
The Louisiana affidavit of small succession, also known as the Louisiana small estate affidavit is available to estates that meet certain criteria. This type of succession doesn’t require the full court process and can save money as long as the estate meets the requirements.
Our fees to file a Louisiana affidavit of small succession are substantially lower than a full-blown succession procedure and we offer flat-rate pricing on these as well.
To qualify for the Louisiana affidavit of small succession, the estate must be less than 125K in value.
There are different ways that attorneys get paid to handle Louisiana successions.
First, you have traditional payment arrangements that go by the attorney’s hourly rate. This is the way the legal business has handled legal fees since the beginning. Many clients cannot afford to hire an attorney this way because the legal fees are unknown with hourly billing. It’s hard to tell up front how much you will end up paying your attorney because he/she doesn’t know what they will encounter. You pay for every phone call, email, letter to opposing attorney, legal advice and discussions. This can add up! Clients get gun shy about calling their own attorney to ask questions out of fear of being charged the hourly rate.
Louisiana does not have a specific fee schedule set by lawmakers. Law firms are open to charge basically any way they choose, including percentage based. A small percentage of firms charge for successions based on the amount of assets in the estate. These fee arrangements are rare and I would recommend using caution if you ever encounter one.
Flat Rate Fees
The other and arguably best option for clients is “flat rate” billing. This is a more economical way to pay for attorney services. We use this often at the Andries Law Firm because it benefits our clients. We charge you a one-time fee to handle the succession from beginning to end. That means we answer your phone calls, emails and set up appointments any time you have questions or need to discuss the legal matter at hand without charging you additional hourly rates.
With that being said, there are different amounts charged even with a flat rate agreement. If all heirs agree and the property is easy to find; you could be looking at a rate of $1,750-$3,500 plus court costs. Court costs for Louisiana successions can range from $250 to $500 depending on the parish. If any issues are apparent or litigation is necessary, the cost could easily go higher.
Louisiana Succession Checklist:
You may be wondering what type of documents are needed for a succession in Louisiana. Here’s a short list of things you may need to get started:
- Death certificate;
- Marriage information of the deceased;
- Names of heirs;
- Locations of heirs;
- Last will and testament if there was one;
- Vehicle information such as VIN, year, make and model;
- Bank account information;
- Debts owed by the estate;
- Property values
You don’t have to gather all of these documents before you contact us. We can help you locate the property information once we speak with you about your case.
Louisiana wills are designed to help you choose where your property goes when you die. A lot can happen if you don’t execute a valid will and leave it up to the state to decide where your property goes. A will can be handwritten or typed but must follow the law exactly or it could be held invalid by a judge and deemed worthless. An invalid will won’t do what you want it to do so it’s important that you get it done right.
How Much Does it Cost for a Will?
We can help you draft a Last Will and Testament to ensure your property goes to the person or people that you want. Our fees for basic wills are less than $400 and we can work within your budget.
Louisiana Inheritance Tax
Louisiana has no estate tax. It was repealed and there is no requirement to file a tax return with the State of Louisiana. However, there may be Federal Estate Tax owed depending on the value of the estate.
Succession Forms Louisiana
Our office receives numerous calls for succession forms. There aren’t really any forms that you can use as each case is different and must be put into a petition. There are also other legal documents that must accompany the succession petition such as verification, affidavit of death, domicile and heirship, detailed descriptive list, order to probate and more. It’s important to speak with us before trying to file a succession by yourself using the succession forms you found online. Many of them are incorrect and no good in Louisiana.
The best way to get an estimate on legal fees for a succession is to contact us by email at Jerome@AndriesLawFirm.com.
Successions are tough
You don’t have to do it alone.
Call us at 318-269-5857 to schedule a consultation.
– Louisiana Succession Attorney R. Jerome Andries
Louisiana Succession FAQ
Is a Succession Required in Louisiana?
Succession allows assets to be transferred to heirs when someone dies. While there are a number of asset types that do not need to go through probate, most Louisiana estates will have to go through succession to put heirs into possession of property. This is true even if there is a valid Last Will and Testament. If you are wondering if you need to file a succession in Louisiana, feel free to call us anytime.
How Long Does It Take to Do a Succession in Louisiana?
Every succession in Louisiana is different. The time it takes to fully complete one depends on a number of factors such as:
- The complexity of the succession
- Location of heirs
- Types of property
- Property located in other states
- Property located in other parishes
- How quickly the clerk of court processes your paperwork
- How fast the judge works your file
We normally advise clients that Louisiana successions could take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months depending on what needs to be done.
Do Out of State Heirs Need to File a Succession in Louisiana?
You will need to file a succession in Louisiana if you are heir to a Louisiana estate. For example, if you live in Texas, but your parents lived and died in Louisiana – you will need to file in Louisiana. We help out of state heirs file Louisiana successions all the time. You don’t even need to travel to Louisiana, we can help.
Here’s an article for out-of-state heirs that need to file a succession in Louisiana.