SHREVEPORT SUCCESSION LAWYER
Dealing with estate successions and last wills and testaments can be a painful but necessary part of settling final affairs.
Let an experienced succession lawyer guide you through this delicate process, call Joseph Greenwald, Jr. today.
Succession Lawyer Shreveport, LA
Making sure your property and assets go to the correct people when you pass away can be a painful but necessary part of settling your affairs.
When a person passes away, the law dictates how his or her property and assets will be dispersed. As a result, not having a legal will could cause a slew of problems for your family. That’s because Louisiana’s laws on how property is to be distributed when a person dies without first having a will in place can be extremely strict. For example, children receive preference over spouses, and in the case of separate property, even grandchildren may have more rights than a husband or wife.
The Greenwald Law Firm handles both major and minor successions across the state of Louisiana, guiding devastated family and friends throughout the difficult process of estate inheritance after a loved one’s death. You can be confident that if you choose Joseph Greenwald, Jr. as your succession attorney, your assets will be properly allocated according to your wishes.
What is a Succession?
In Louisiana, probate proceedings are referred to as successions. After debts are paid, it is the process of settling a deceased person’s estate and transferring the remaining property to those who shall inherit it. The term can also refer to the actual estate that a person leaves behind when they die. Our lawyers frequently represent clients in probate disputes as well as supervise probates handled by other lawyers to ensure that our client’s interests are maintained.
If there are issues in the will, or if the deceased person did not have a sound estate plan, the process can quickly become quite complicated. The following are some of the potential complications that may arise:
- A poorly written document
- Controversy about how a will should be interpreted
- Assets that are challenging to handle or valuate
- Questions regarding a will’s validity
- Issues of forced heirship
- Issues regarding a family-owned company
- Estate tax concerns if the estate is significant
At Greenwald Law Firm, our Shreveport succession attorney ensures that the process is conducted efficiently and appropriately, advising what an executor of a will can and cannot do to avoid the possibility of them being sued. We also represent heirs of the estate by ensuring that the procedure is carried out correctly. Will conflicts and issues of malfeasance or fraud are among the other types of probate litigation we handle.
Louisiana Succession Law
There are two types of successions in Louisiana. Testate, where the decedent left a will, or intestate, where there is no will left behind. In a testate succession, the will must be submitted to the appropriate court and the proper party acknowledged as the executor of the estate. The executor is responsible for paying the state’s taxes and distributing the estate’s assets to the heirs on behalf of the state.
In an intestate succession, state law specifies who the decedent’s heirs are, and the court must select the competent party to administer the estate, paying the obligations and distributing the assets to the proper heirs.
Louisiana Testate Succession: La.C.C. Art. 874
As mentioned, testate succession is based on the will of the deceased, contained in a testament executed in a form prescribed by law.
Louisiana recognizes two forms of testaments/wills:
- Olographic Testament: An olographic testament (sometimes referred to as a “holographic” will) is one that is written, dated, and signed in the handwriting of the testator. Although the date may appear anywhere in the testament, the testator must sign the testament at the end of the document. If anything is written by the testator after his signature has been added, however, the testament will not be invalid, but rather the writing may be considered by the court, in its discretion, as part of the testament. The date is sufficiently indicated if the day, month, and year are reasonably ascertainable from information in the testament, as clarified by extrinsic evidence, if necessary.
- Notarial Testament: This is the more common type of testament. The majority of notarial testaments are typed by an attorney. For a notarial testament to be recognized as legally applicable by a judge in the proper state court, rigorous formality standards must be followed. All notarial testaments must be signed and dated in the presence of a notary as well as two witnesses after the testator declares the testament to be their own. The notary and the witnesses must also sign and date the testament. Should the testator be unable to sign the document themselves, other requirements must be met.
Notarial testaments are often more meticulous than the common olographic testament made by an individual since they are generally prepared by lawyers skilled in the subtleties of estate planning who use their skills to benefit their clients.
Louisiana Intestate Succession: La.C.C. Art. 880
In Louisiana, if a person dies without a valid will in place, they are said to have died intestate. Intestate succession will be used to manage his or her estate. This means that the assets of the deceased person will be allocated according to Louisiana intestate law.
The assets of a deceased person are distributed to various relatives under Louisiana’s intestate laws, beginning with the children and spouse and extending to additional descendants, ancestors, and descendants of ancestors. Louisiana’s intestate legislation is applied differently depending on whether the decedent’s property belonged to the community or was owned separately, as well as the degree to which each family member was related to the deceased.
Do You Need a Succession Lawyer?
Louisiana requires a succession to occur when there is no other method to transfer assets. Although heirs may be the “owner” of the decedent’s assets, the state must legally and formally transfer assets with the help of a probate attorney.
Succession is also required regardless if someone dies testate or intestate unless all assets can be transferred via other means. The typical method for avoiding probate for non-beneficiary designated assets is by establishing a revocable trust, or living trust. Shreveport estate law attorney Joseph W. Greenwald. Jr. expertly navigates the succession process to avoid a contentious struggle on behalf of his clients. Smart estate planning and the proper formation of a legal will are the first steps.
What Information Does a Succession Lawyer Need From You?
During the consultation process, your lawyer will provide you with a list of exactly what information you’ll need to complete the succession. These requirements may vary, depending on what the deceased owned, the heirs in question, and a host of other factors.
To begin, you can expect to provide the following information:
- The names and addresses of all individuals involved in the succession.
- A complete listing of the assets the deceased owned. This includes real estate, property, brokerage account statements, bank statements, vehicle titles, etc.
- A complete list of all debts the deceased may have owed. This includes credit card balances, mortgages, etc.
- The signed Last Will and Testament. The original will must be filed with the courthouse.
Contact an Experienced Shreveport Succession Lawyer Today
Not every attorney comes across succession and probate law on a daily basis. When you’re looking for an attorney to aid in this process, it is important that you hire one who has significant legal experience handling successions and estate planning.
Seasoned attorneys like Joseph Greenwald understand the complex tax consequences that come with successions and can help you determine the path that’s both the easiest for you and preserves the most value for your family.
Losing a loved one is a hard enough experience to go through. You shouldn’t have to struggle through the probate process in addition to that. Our experienced Louisiana successions attorney will guide you through the legal process to properly administer your loved one’s estate according to their wishes. This process can involve transferring real estate titles, distributing property, and settling debts, if needed.
Probate and succession issues don’t have to be difficult or costly. Call the Greenwald Law Firm today at 318-219-7867 for a free consultation regarding your living will or probate wishes.