You may be wondering if an out-of-state will is valid in Louisiana. This is a common question we encounter from clients that lived in other states and moved to Louisiana. If an individual died while domiciled in another state and owned property such as real estate in Louisiana, then ancillary probate must be conducted. We call wills executed in other states a “Foreign Will” and it must be valid in the state it was written in order to be probated in Louisiana. The validity of an out-of-state will in Louisiana depends on a few factors.
Here’s an Example We Often See:
My mother died in Texas and had a Texas will, but owned real estate in Louisiana. Will I be able to open her succession using her Texas will in Louisiana?
First, Louisiana law will recognize a will drafted in another state as valid as long as it would have been valid in the originating state. In the above example, the mother was domiciled in Texas, had a Texas will, but owned real estate (immovable) property in Louisiana.
She will need a succession done in Louisiana to cover the immovable property here because only a Louisiana court will have jurisdiction over property located in this state.
There are 2 (two) ways her succession can be accomplished:
- Open the succession in Texas and bring the probated will to the proper court in the parish where the immovable property is located;
- If a succession is not opened in Texas, she can still probate the out-of-state (foreign) will in Louisiana.
Either option will give the heir the opportunity to open a succession in Louisiana to cover the immovable property located here.
Louisiana will recognize Last will and Testaments executed in other states as long as it was prepared in accordance with the laws of that particular state.
What if the Out-of-State Will Doesn’t Comply with Louisiana Law?
In our example, had the will been invalid in Texas, the Louisiana court would not allow it to probate. It would have to follow the proper procedure in Texas to be valid here. It doesn’t matter that a foreign will doesn’t comply with Louisiana law as long as it was valid in the state of origination.
What If I Already Opened a Succession in Another State?
If the deceased was domiciled and died in another state and succession was already opened, you can simply present a copy of the probated will to the proper Louisiana court in order to begin the process. The Louisiana court will accept the will probated in another state and give it the power to transfer assets in this state. This is known as ancillary probate or ancillary succession. We assist clients as well as out-of-state lawyers with ancillary probate.
L.A. R.S. 9:2421 states that “A will duly proved, allowed, and admitted to probate outside of this state, may be allowed and recorded in the proper court of any parish in this state, in which the testator shall have left any estate.”
Which Parish Do I Probate an Out-Of-State Will?
If the deceased was domiciled in another state and died in another state other than Louisiana, you will file in the parish where the deceased owned property. For example, if the deceased owned real estate in Louisiana, you will file in the parish where the immovable property is located. If there is no immovable property, you will file in the parish where the movable property is located.
What if the Deceased Owned Real Estate in Multiple Parishes?
Louisiana is broken up into parishes and it’s very possible that the deceased may have owned property in more than one parish. In that event, you will need to locate property in each parish. You can search the tax assessor’s website for each parish if you’re unsure where it may be located.
Can an Out-Of-State Heir Use the Affidavit of Small Succession?
Louisiana does allow property transfers by using the Affidavit of Small Succession as long as it meets the requirements.
If the decedent died with a will while domiciled in another state other than Louisiana or if the will was probated in another state and it meets the requirements of a small succession; and the decedent’s sole heirs are descendants, ascendants, siblings, or descendants of siblings, the surviving spouse, or the beneficiaries of the probated will in another state – then YES, the Affidavit of Small Succession is available.
Do I Need an Attorney to Probate an Out-Of-State Will in Louisiana?
It’s highly suggested that you consult with a Louisiana attorney to probate an out-of-state will. There are too many possibilities to make mistakes that could end up costing more money and prolonging the procedure.
How Much Does it Cost to Probate an Out-Of-State Will in Louisiana?
It depends on the circumstances of your case. You can send us an email to Jerome@AndriesLawFirm.com and give us the facts of your situation so we can send you a quote.
Need Help Probating an Out-Of-State Will?
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Attorney R. Jerome Andries
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Call Us: (318) 269-5857
Frequently Asked Questions About Out-Of-State Wills in Louisiana
Is an Out-Of-State Will Valid in Louisiana?
An out-of-state will can be recognized by a Louisiana court as long as it would have been valid under the laws of the state where it was signed and executed. If the will wasn’t valid under the foreign state’s estate laws, then the Louisiana court will not recognize it as being a valid will in this state.
Does a Will Have to be Probated in Louisiana?
Yes, a will must be probated in Louisiana in order to have effect. This is true whether the will was signed in Louisiana or the foreign state. However, the deceased’s estate was valued at less than $125,00 at the time of death and you would get the exact same outcome with or without a will, then the small estate may be able to use the affidavit of small succession to transfer property to the heirs or legatees.
Is a Will Executed in One State Valid in Another?
We can only comment on Louisiana law, but normally a state will acknowledge a will from another state as long as it would have been valid in the home state.