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Opening an estate in Louisiana

If you are an executor of an estate, you will open it after the decedent’s death. How you approach this process is crucial. Any wrong move can lead to delays and a bad experience for you, the beneficiaries and interested parties.

Here is what to know about opening an estate (referred to as opening a succession) in Louisiana:

When should you open an estate?

You can open a succession immediately after the decedent’s death, particularly if you need to access the decedent’s bank accounts or assets to handle immediate expenses, such as medical and funeral expenses. But if they left you money aside to handle immediate bills, you can open the estate after the funeral.

Delaying opening a succession can lead to the loss of documents (such as the will) or properties (for example, the sale of a home due to unpaid taxes). Besides, succession can be more expensive and stressful when delayed, as you may have difficulty finding heirs, especially when co-heirs lose contact with each other, or finding witnesses to sign affidavits or testify in court when necessary. Further, the assets to be distributed may lose value.

Cases of executors opening an estate years after a decedent’s death have been reported. Therefore, if you encounter contests or another factor that may delay succession, act accordingly as fast as possible.

How do you open an estate?

In most cases, you can open an estate in Louisiana by filing an ex parte petition for possession with a district court. The steps you follow will be determined by different factors, including the gross value of the estate and whether or not there is a valid will.

Succession can be complicated if not handled correctly. Get legal help to have a smooth experience.