Navigating The Succession Process

After a loved one dies, there are several complex legal matters to address for the surviving family, one of which includes succession and estate administration. Below you’ll find a general overview of successions in Louisiana and information regarding how to proceed. 

What is a Succession?

In Louisiana, succession is the process of transferring legal titles for all of the property owned by the decedent at the time of death, including immovable and movable properties, to the decedent's legatees or heirs who have the right to take ownership and possession of the property after complying with Louisiana law. Examples of immovable property are houses and land, while examples of movable property are bank contents and personal possessions like cars or jewelry. 

What is a Succession Attorney?

Typically, a succession attorney in New Orleans is employed during the above process to make sure that property goes to the right person in accordance with the decedent's will and state law. If required, probate begins quickly after the loss of a loved one. The state-licensed lawyers at Crescent Title will help any appointed Executor of a Will (if one was appointed at all) and the beneficiaries of an estate get through probate and settle property and title transactions. 

How a Succession Attorney Can Help

Probate can be long and stressful, especially after the loss of someone special. Navigating titles for property on your own can be a daunting task without the added heartache. Reputable succession attorneys around New Orleans make handling succession and estate planning much easier, handling the legal processes while allowing you and your family the time to process your loss with respect and dignity. 

Services provided by Crescent Title’s New Orleans succession attorneys include:

  • understanding and paying debts/liens an estate may have
  • title research and validation of ownership
  • making sure that buildings and structures are appropriately marked and placed on properties
  • distributing property titles
  • establishing a new Will
  • setting up guardianship
  • writing a Trust

Types of Successions

There are two types of successions in Louisiana: 

1) Testate Succession

A testate succession in New Orleans occurs when a person dies leaving behind a last will and testament. A person who inherits under a testament is called a legatee. The property in a testate succession is transferred to the legatees by filing the original testament with the court in a process called probate asking the court to recognize the validity of the testament. Once the testament is probated, the legatees then file pleadings with the court to be placed in possession of the decedent’s property in accordance with provision of the testament.

2) Intestate Succession

An intestate succession in New Orleans occurs when a person dies without leaving a last will and testament or if the last will and testament is deemed invalid under Louisiana law. A person inheriting under Louisiana laws of intestate successions is referred to as an heir. Heirs are placed in possession of the decedent’s property by petitioning the court for recognition as the decedent’s legal heir and therefore entitled to inherit property owned by the decedent at the time of death.

Successions can be further categorized as those placed under the authority of a court-appointed administration and those for which no administration is necessary. If no administration of the decedent’s estate is required, heirs and/or legatees may be placed in possession of the estate property by petitioning to the court for a judgment recognizing their entitlement to possession. These types of successions can be completed relatively quickly and with contained costs. In contrast, successions under court administration are typically more complex and carry increased costs.

Hire Top-Rated Succession Attorneys in Louisiana

Successions are one of the most subtly complex areas of legal practice in Louisiana. On its face, it looks simple to the unknowing attorney; however, specific legal skills, knowledge, and acumen are required to correctly manage successions, especially when passing title to a house or land owned by the decedent. As top-recommended title attorneys, we pay special attention to ensuring that title to the property sold from a decedent’s estate or passed directly to a decedent’s heirs and legatees is clear and merchantable once the succession is finalized.

If your family member has passed away while owning an interest in a house or land for which you are trying to sell, we welcome the opportunity to consult with you about succession options. Reach out to us via phone or email today to begin working with Crescent Title’s succession attorneys around New Orleans. 

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