Let’s face it, no one wants to deal with a succession. Opening a succession means someone close to you has died. After funeral costs, medical bills, and other debts, the last thing an heir wants to do is pay an attorney to be able to take ownership of the property that was rightfully left to them. This month I’m going to enter the first of a three-part series on types of successions generally in Louisiana. In Louisiana, the word succession refers to the probate process. I like to break successions down into three general types: Small Successions, Succession without Administration, and Succession with Administration. This month we will focus on the Small Succession, or as I like to call it “real estate’s best kept secret.”
Successions are not always necessary; however, any time a loved one passes that owned real estate in Louisiana at the time of their death, the heirs will be required to open a succession in order to complete the sale of the property. Many people have heard horror stories about how expensive this process can be and how long it can take. The Small Succession was passed in the legislature to help solve just that problem, particularly for families that do not have much expendable income. A small succession can be used to distribute to the heirs inherited property without court involvement. This is a generally much quicker process (sometimes less than a week) and it can have a substantially lower cost, as well. So what’s the catch? Well, in order to qualify for this type of succession the following must be accurate:
- The gross value of the estate is $75,000 or less. Note if there is a surviving spouse, the gross value of the community must be less than $150,000.
- The decedent died without a will.
- The decedent’s sole heirs are his descendants, ascendants, siblings, or surviving spouse.
If all the above factors are true, then going through the judicial system most likely will not be necessary.