If you have been named as the executor of an estate in Louisiana, then you have a very important job to do. A loved one or close friend trusted you enough to handle their affairs after their death. It can be the biggest compliment to your friendship or a burden that you feel obligated to fulfill. Either way, you are about to embark on a journey into the world of Louisiana probate law.
At this point you may want to speak with an experienced Louisiana succession attorney.
To answer the question: No, there is no time limit as to when the executor of the estate must file the will with the court. You can take your time and mourn or file it right away. Many aspects of Louisiana law have specific time frames with which to file such as personal injury, suits on a contract and some aspects of family law. However, filing a succession is not one of them.
While the executor doesn’t have a time limit to file the will, others who have an interest can petition the court for possession. If the executor or succession representative is in possession of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased and refuses to file the will, any interested party can begin proceedings to have the will filed. If you are in possession of the will, you may have an obligation to file petitions with the court and allow others to stake their claim in their inheritance.
It’s important to keep in mind that while there is no time limit to file a will in Louisiana, you may have a duty to file at a reasonable time period to protect the rights of interested parties and to ensure nothing happens to the will. This should ease some of your worry about having to file the will as soon as your loved one passed, but keep in mind you shouldn’t hold off for too long. Property can get lost, bank accounts tend to be spent and bills continue deducting from accounts.
Can an Executor of an Estate Withhold Distribution of Assets?
While an executor of an estate has no time limit on when they must file the will with the court, they have an obligation to file with the Court as soon as they can. Once the will is filed and succession proceedings have begun, any interested party can petition the court to be placed in possession of the property granted to them by the will. The executor of the estate is not able to withhold the distribution of assets indefinitely. There exists an obligation to distribute property in a timely manner.
Your loved one or close friend named you as an executor to their estate for a reason and it’s doubtful that reason was to withhold assets that were meant for others unless it is clearly stated in the will. If the succession representative withholds assets and property with no reasoning from legal heirs that are named in the will, this could lead to law suits being filed against the estate. This could end up diminishing the value of the estate and taking from the pockets of those it was intended for.
If you are named in the will and the executor is holding up succession proceedings, you need to speak with an attorney that has experience handling these types of situations. You or your attorney can petition the court to be placed in possession of your property in the Louisiana succession.
Who Can Serve as an Executor in Louisiana?
Louisiana has imposed some basic requirements for executors in Louisiana.
- An executor must be 18 years or older; and
- An executor must be of sound mind
- An executor must not be a convicted felon under state or federal law
Further, a Louisiana court may bar an executor if found unfit to serve due to bad moral character. This doesn’t happen often, but is possible. The Judge will have a hearing to determine the moral fitness of the potential executor in open court and will make a determination.
Where Do You File a Will in Louisiana?
The succession must be filed in the proper parish or you will have to start over. The Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure gives instructions on the proper parish to file a succession in Louisiana.
A succession shall be filed in the district court of the parish in which the deceased was domiciled (home) at the time of his or her death.
If the deceased was not domiciled in Louisiana at the time of his or her death, the succession may be filed in the district court of any parish where:
- Immovable property of the deceased is located; or
- Movable property of the deceased is located if he or she did not own immovable property in Louisiana.
It seems easy to determine the proper parish to file a succession in Louisiana, but there are a few examples where this can be a difficult question.
Here is an article that further explains which parish you must file a succession in Louisiana.
How Much Do Executors Get Paid in Louisiana?
Typically, executors are friends or family members of the deceased and do the job for free. Most Louisiana wills state that the executor will serve without financial compensation. However, an executor may charge up to 2.5% of the net value of the estate if the fees have not been waived in the will and the executor wishes to be compensated for their time. While the fee is set at 2.5% of the gross estate, the fee is subject to Judicial review depending on the facts of the situation and the amount of work the executor completed. The job of an executor is time consuming, but keep in mind when executing your will that if you don’t waive the fees, your executor could pay themselves a large chunk of your estate and leave your heirs with less money.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. You must speak with an attorney as this website does not provide legal advice.