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Probate frequently asked questions in Louisiana

If you are a Louisiana resident who has recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering what probate is and how it works. At some point, you might even hear that you should plan your estate to avoid the probate process. Well, here are the basics you should know.

What is probate in Louisiana?

Probate is the legal process of authenticating a will and distributing a deceased person’s assets to their heirs. If someone dies without a will, their estate will still go through probate, and their assets will be distributed according to Louisiana’s intestacy laws.

How does the probate process work?

The probate process in Louisiana typically starts with filing a petition in the parish where the deceased person lived. The named executor or estate representative files this petition with the estate, and it must be accompanied by the original will (if there is one). The court will then issue a citation to all interested parties, including heirs, creditors and any other individuals who might have a claim on the estate.

Afterward, the court will hold a hearing to officially appoint the executor or estate representative as the estate administrator. This individual will be responsible for managing the estate and ensuring that all debts are paid, and assets are distributed according to the terms of the will (or intestacy laws).

How long does the probate process take?

The time frame for probate can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the estate. However, most estates are settled within six to nine months. However, this timeline can be extended if there is a dispute among the heirs or beneficiaries, will contest or complicated assets such as businesses or real estate.

Why do people consider the probate process expensive?

The probate process can be expensive due to the court fees and attorney’s fees associated with it. In addition, the executor is typically entitled to compensation for their time and effort.

Probate can be a powerful tool to ensure proper administration of the deceased property. For one, a judge oversees the entire process, ensuring all is done according to Louisiana laws. However, as discussed, it has some downsides, like it can take longer than expected or cost a lot.