You’re probably asking yourself if you can save lawyer fees and file a succession in Louisiana on your own. Louisiana successions are expensive, but there’s a reason why. You may have read countless legal websites and feel that you’re able to tackle it on your own, but there are a few things you need to know first. Louisiana succession law is vastly different from other states. Just because you may be familiar with the legal system in a neighboring state such as Mississippi, Florida or Texas doesn’t mean you will know what to do in Louisiana. Our system of succession laws are complex at times and it is highly recommended that you speak with an attorney that specializes in Louisiana succession law. Remember, not all attorneys are familiar with how to do successions in Louisiana, so you need to speak with a law firm that handles probate or successions. It’s easy to make mistakes with succession law and not hiring an attorney could end up costing you much more in the long run.
If you’ve found this page, there’s a good chance you’ve been named as the executor of an estate for a loved one who recently passed and you have questions. You may be wondering if you can handle a succession by yourself and are unsure where to turn. It’s possible to file a Louisiana succession successfully by yourself without hiring a lawyer. It all depends on your understanding of the law, the complexity of the succession and how much time you are willing to invest. There’s no rule that states that you must hire an attorney, but attorneys are trained to deal with complex succession matters and they are almost always worth the money to make sure your Louisiana succession is filed correctly.
If you’re searching for “How to do a succession in Louisiana without a lawyer,” you may want to read this first.
Here are 8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding to File a Louisiana Succession on Your Own:
- Time. How much time are you willing to spend? Successions can take months to complete and most people just don’t have time to worry with it. A Louisiana succession requires petitions, affidavits, detailed descriptive lists, verifications, judgments and more to be valid and sent through the court system. Then you must wait on the Judge to sign and mail back a certified copy. That’s considering you don’t run into any problems or issues with your filing. It could take even longer if there happens to be an issue. A law firm that specializes in Louisiana successions will stay with the succession until it is complete and will stay in contact with necessary parties and judges.
- Types of Assets: Not all assets are required to go through the probate process in Louisiana. Many can be simply transferred to the heirs without needing the assistance of the court. Do you know which assets go through the succession and which ones do not? This could require a great deal of research on your part and goes back to the time issue. Here’s an example: Probate is not needed for the types of assets where a person is named as a beneficiary such as IRAs or life insurance. Again, we’re not attempting to disperse legal advice, you should speak with an attorney.
- Location of Assets: Do you know where all of the assets are that were owned by your loved one? It could be a difficult task to locate all movable and immovable property in Louisiana. You will have to research and locate property in each parish. Let’s say you find immovable property in three different parishes and movable property such as vehicles and boats in two parishes – which parish do you file your petitions? You may want to speak with an attorney at this point.
- Your Location: Do you live in Louisiana or out of state? It may be difficult to handle a Louisiana succession if you have to drive back in forth. If you live in Louisiana, are you close to the parish or parishes in which property was owned? You can’t just file it in your parish, there are certain rules that you must follow as to where you file your petitions. You may find yourself driving from parish to parish collecting information.
- Was There a Will? If there was a will, it will dictate how the succession is to be handled in most cases. However, there are instances where a portion of the will could be held invalid or the entire will may not stand in court. You will have to research and determine what parts if any of the will are valid. If there wasn’t a will, Louisiana has a standard of laws that determine what happens to property and it can get complicated.
- Large Estate or Small Estate: There are different types of successions you can file. Some of them don’t involve court proceeds and you can simply file them into the record through an affidavit of small succession. Others require you to obtain the judge’s signature. You will need to know the size of the estate and the parameters of each type of succession.
- Was the Will Valid? Family members tend to challenge the will even when there isn’t much money to fight over. It happens more often than you think and can tear a family apart. A suit against a succession can drain every single cent from an estate if not handled immediately. An experienced Louisiana succession attorney may be able to help you with lawsuits filed against the estate.
- Are There Complex Assets Involved? Assets such as a business that involves partners could be a tough pill to swallow without proper legal training. Most business partnerships include an exit strategy should one partner die, but it depends on the business structure and whether or not they completed the paperwork. This is probably not something you would want to handle without an experienced Louisiana succession attorney at your side.
When dealing with a Louisiana succession, it’s best to speak with an attorney that has experience in such matters. It’s not as easy as it looks and you could make a costly mistake by attempting to file a succession on your own. There are so many different types of successions and asset classes that’s its nearly impossible to gauge whether you can do it on your own until you get into the paperwork and see what’s involved. It’s highly suggested that you gather all appropriate paperwork that you can find and take it to a law firm that specializes in Louisiana successions. If price is a concern, speak with an attorney about your financial situation and maybe they will work with you.
This blog post is simply for informational purposes only and should not be used to base legal decisions on. Please speak with an attorney about your unique legal situation and don’t rely on what you read online. Commenting on or emailing this site does not constitute an attorney/client relationship.