We are fortunate in Louisiana to have a very straightforward, efficient and (typically) affordable probate (aka Succession) process. Yet, there are professionals on the internet and elsewhere that continue to market unnecessarily complicated solutions for Estate Planning by utilizing fear of the unknown Succession process, which is frankly unconscionable. In fact, the Louisiana inheritance taxes have been repealed, and very few clients even need to file a Federal Estate Tax Return.
In Louisiana, an heir does not have the legal right to possess, sell or encumber property left by the deceased without completion of a Succession. Moreover, a Succession is also required to carry out the deceased's intentions pertaining to child guardianship or testamentary trusts for his/her survivors. When a loved one does pass away, heirs or agents should promptly search to determine whether the deceased left a will together with important papers so that the attorney has enough information to give some preliminary advice on how to proceed. Usually, those papers are left in a safe, safe deposit box or other secure location.
Once that search has been concluded, you should contact an attorney on how to proceed.