Louisiana Intestate Succession: How Does the Process Work?

May 20, 2021 by Ciolino & Onstott

Louisiana Intestate Succession: How Does the Process Work?
Louisiana intestate succession
Louisiana intestate succession occurs when a person dies without a will. Intestate succession is explained in the state's intestate succession law. In this blog post, you will learn some basic information about how the intestate succession process operates in Louisiana. After reading this post, schedule your free consultation with Ciolino & Onstott. 

What Is the Intestate Succession Process? 

The intestate succession process is used when someone dies without a will. It is used to legally distribute the assets of the deceased in accordance with Louisiana intestate law. However, there are some assets that are not affected by this process or by Louisiana intestate law. The most common assets that are unaffected include life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary, retirement account funds with a named beneficiary, and property that is part of a living trust. 

From there, because there is no will, there is no guarantee that your remaining assets will be distributed in a way that you would have chosen. The intestate succession process that will determine how your assets will be distributed will be determined by the law as well as whether you were married and the order of your next of kin. However, we will address this topic in the next blog. 

There are common misconceptions regarding what will happen to your property if you die without a will. The remainder of this blog post will describe what happens according to the Louisiana intestate laws when someone dies without a will. This may include appointing an administrator to oversee the intestate succession process. 

Louisiana Intestate Law: Property Must Be Classified as Separate or Community

Under Louisiana intestate law, separate property and community property are treated in a different manner. Therefore, the property that must be distributed if you die without a will must first be classified as either separate property or community property. To start, let's look at community property. Community property is property owned by married couples. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement, assets you acquire during your marriage are considered community property. If you die without a will, and you are married with children, then your share of the community property goes to your children, subject to an usufruct in favor of the surviving spouse. This creates a complex arrangement of ownership rights which you may wish to avoid by creating an estate plan. Unless you are married when you die, you do not have community property. 

Separate property is the property that you own as an individual. If you are unmarried, the assets will be considered separate property during intestate succession. If you are married, your separate property consists of property you owned before marriage unless that property is specifically made into community property. For example, if you owned a home in your name only before you married and did not add your spouse to the deed, it would remain your separate property. 

How to Avoid Louisiana Intestate Succession

If you're interested in learning how to avoid Louisiana intestate succession, it is important to ensure that you have a will that complies with Louisiana law. Having an estate plan in place can help ensure that your assets are properly distributed to those you love and care for. To learn more about how intestate law could impact you, schedule a free consultation with Ciolino & Onstott now

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