The succession process in Louisiana is called the probate process in other states. During succession, the court will review a deceased person’s estate and estate planning documents to determine the distribution of the individual’s assets and debts. Succession is never easy for loved ones who have just lost someone, but the succession process can be made much easier with a Livingston Parish successions lawyer.
If the deceased has an estate plan, the court will review the validity of the plan. Estate planning can include documents like wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents. Estate plans outline the wishes of the deceased, including heirs and beneficiaries of an estate, how debts are settled, what assets are kept out of state jurisdiction, tutors for minor children, and other wishes. If the deceased does not have an estate plan, or the estate plan was reviewed and found unenforceable, the court will distribute assets according to intestate laws.
An attorney can help an executor or heir manage the succession process and help contest a will or counter a will contest.
At Magnolia Law, we have experience with many levels of estate and succession law. Our attorneys, Deanna C. Johnson and Ashley Arinder, help people plan for their futures and protect their loved ones and estates through estate planning. Certain estate planning tools can help avoid the succession process or make it easier on loved ones. Our attorneys represent individuals in the succession and probate process.
It can be stressful for loved ones to administer an estate during succession, whether the deceased named them an executor, or they were assigned by the court. Family members have to deal with grief alongside a complex and long legal process. A qualified attorney can help manage some of these issues, providing compassionate legal care and helping succession administration go more efficiently.
Succession handles all assets in your estate that are not held in a trust or do not have their own beneficiary designations. Often, accounts like retirement or investment accounts will have their own individual beneficiaries, and those assets may pass directly to their beneficiary. A trust is a separate legal entity. The trustee retains control of the assets in a trust after the creator’s death, preventing the assets from entering state jurisdiction.
If an individual dies without trusts or individual account beneficiaries, their entire estate will have to go through the succession process. Some people believe that having a will can prevent succession administration, but this is not always true. Trusts can keep assets from succession, but a will simply provides clear instructions for how succession should be handled. A will states “who” gets your assets, a trust states “how” those assets are distributed.
The process of succession typically follows these steps:
An experienced succession administrative attorney has handled the process of estate administration many times and knows how to effectively handle this process.
Any delays can impact the timeline of succession. Delays can include:
During the process of succession, a deceased’s estate is typically frozen, meaning that heirs and beneficiaries cannot access assets in an estate until the process is complete. Succession administration can take several months up to several years a year. When you work with an attorney, the process is likely to be resolved more efficiently, providing you with significant benefits.
Some estates do not have to go through succession, and an attorney can help you determine whether your loved one’s estate qualifies for a simpler process or not. Your attorney can help you file the necessary information if you do not have to go through the typical succession process. If the estate does need succession administration, an attorney can guide you through the process efficiently.
Often, the appointed executor of an estate can benefit the most from a succession lawyer. A lawyer is able to manage the legal and often complex details of administering an estate while providing needed support to the executor. Executors are often close with the deceased and may be a spouse or descendant. This can make it overwhelming to manage an estate.
The succession process can also have additional complications, such as will contests or other disputes. Some heirs have good intentions, while others may be acting maliciously because they believe they were slighted in the distribution of assets. An attorney has experience with will validity contests and heir disputes and can quickly determine how to resolve them or respond to them. The more complex a loved one’s estate is, the more important it is to obtain legal counsel.
If you are unsure how to handle a loved one’s estate after their loss, a succession attorney can help. At Magnolia Law, we know that you are going through a difficult and overwhelming situation. We want to help make it easier on you and determine your options based on the estate plan your loved one left behind. Contact our team today.