Most successions in Louisiana fall into one of two categories: Succession Without Administration and Succession With Full Administration. There can be some variation within each category, depending on whether the decedent had a will and whether independent administration is available.
Succession Without Administration
The most common form of Louisiana succession is a Succession Without Administration (sometimes referred to as a “Simple Putting in Possession”). In this type of succession, no succession representative (also called a personal representative or executor) is appointed and no administration is necessary. After the estate is filed with the court, the succession attorney obtains a Judgment of Possession transferring title to the decedent’s assets.
New Orleans Successions
If a Succession Without Administration includes real estate in New Orleans, Louisiana (or elsewhere in Orleans Parish), the Louisiana succession attorney must file a copy of the Judgment of Possession with the assessor for Orleans Parish within 15 days from the date that the judgment becomes final.
Succession with Full Administration
If the estate does not qualify for a Succession Without Administration, a Succession With Full Administration will be required. This is usually required in the following circumstances:
There is a question regarding the validity of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament;
The identity of the decedent’s heirs are unclear or cannot be located or it is unclear which of them are entitled to the decedent’s property;
There is a question regarding the solvency of the estate;
Assets need to be sold from within the succession proceeding to pay creditors;
A forced heir claims that he or she has not received the assets to which he is entitled by law; or
Other disputes arise regarding the succession.
In a Succession with Full Administration, a succession representative is appointed by the court to represent the succession and resolve all outstanding issues. The succession representative is also responsible for fully administering the estate (see our section on Louisiana Estate Administration).
Once all issues are resolved and the estate is administered, the succession representative will propose a distribution to the court by filing a document known as a Tableau of Distribution. If everyone agrees with the Tableau of Distribution, the judge will approve it through a process called homologation and order the assets to be distributed accordingly.
Successions with Full Administration are the most complex form of succession under Louisiana law. As a result, attorneys fees and administration costs are usually higher in a Succession with Full Administration.