Throughout my course work and study of Louisiana Estate law, there was one area of estate law that was only briefly touched upon, and seemed rather insignificant in the whole scheme of things. That seemingly insignificant Louisiana Code provision dealt with small successions. I figured, I’ll never see this in my legal career so I didn’t study the law regarding small successions with too much vigor.
Well lo and behold, last week we met with a client who’s father recently passed away and was eligible for the Louisiana small succession. The client was looking to open his father’s succession and was prepared to pay the high cost of opening the succession with a court filing. It turned out that, because his father’s estate was eligible for a small succession, no court filing was necessary and the cost of opening succession was avoided.
To be eligible for a small succession a person must die without a will, with only one piece of Louisiana real estate, and their estate must be worth less than $75,000 . To open a small succession all that is needed is a notarized affidavit declaring the individual’s death and that the estate’s value is less than $75,000. With this affidavit the heirs of the decedent can gain access to the deceased’s accounts without any hassle.
The reason this estate qualified for a small succession lies in proper planning because the father placed the majority of his estate in trust prior to death, and the remainder of the estate ended up equaling less than $75,000. This trust helped the family avoid the cost of a full on succession proceeding which would have cost them at least $5,000. Instead all they did to transfer property not in trust into their names was file a simple affidavit which was relatively inexpensive.
As you can see, proper planning can save a lot of money upon death. If you are interested in our estate planning services to help your family save on the cost of successions, feel free to call me in the New Orleans/Metairie Area at (504) 754-1980 or call (985) 246-3020 in Mandeville, Covington, Slidell, Houma, Thibodaux, and surrounding areas..