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  • The heirs or legatees do not agree on the distribution of succession assets.

  • There is not sufficient cash to pay bills, taxes, attorney's fees, and expenses.

  •  There is a need to sell real estate, or to continue to operate a business.

    ​There are missing heirs, minor heirs, incompetent heirs, or the heirs scattered.

  • There is a possibility of a claim by the succession against an heir or legatee, such as where an heir is suspected of concealing assets of the succession.

In Louisiana, the term “succession” refers to the process used to determine the ownership of the assets comprising the estate of a deceased individual.  Often, this process is loosely referred to as “probate,” though the two terms actually have different meanings.  There are numerous factors that influence the expense that will be incurred in a succession.  The most important of these factors are discussed below.


Is an Administration Necessary?

If it is determined that a succession is necessary, the next question is whether or not an “administration” is necessary.  An Administration is probably necessary in the following circumstances: 

  • A forced heir is making a claim for collation.

  • There is a possibility of substantial claims against the succession (such as lawsuits resulting from automobile accidents).  

  •  There is a need for a succession representative to make certain income and estate tax elections.

  • There is a need to initiate lawsuits on behalf of the decedent. 

  •  The need to receive an estate tax closing letter (or respond to anticipated audit issues) from the Internal Revenue Service.

Is Court Supervision Required?
If the decedent’s Will so provides, or if all the heirs and legatees agree, the succession representative (i.e., the Administrator or Executor) can act without bond and without court supervision.  Otherwise, each action of the representative will require notice to the other heirs or legatees; the opportunity for the heirs or legatees to object to the action; and court approval of the proposed action.  A succession is much more expensive if court supervision is required.  

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Is a Succession Necessary?

Sometimes a succession is not necessary at all, especially if the individual died without owning real estate.  For example, the individual’s home may have been placed into a trust prior to the individual’s death.  If the individual had bank accounts or securities listed solely in the individual’s name, a succession will be necessary to access the bank accounts.  However, if the bank accounts were “or” accounts, the other individual(s) on the accounts will be able to access the funds in the accounts without the necessity of a succession.  

Loveridge Law Firm LLC

David R. Loveridge, Attorney At Law