Successions and Wills

Attorney services in Shreveport Bossier City

What is a Succession?

A succession is a legal proceeding that transfers the deceased person’s estate to his or her legatees under a will or his heirs if it the person died intestate (without a will). If the deceased person has a will, a petition to probate the will is filed in the succession. If the deceased person did not have a valid will, Louisiana law governs who will inherit the deceased person’s estate.

Some successions require an administration of the succession. However, most successions, with or without a will, can be completed without an administration.

Succession Without Administration

Successions without an administration are the most common and the simplest. If the deceased person’s estate was relatively free from debt in comparison with the assets of the succession, there is usually no need to incur the costs of an administration. In these cases, all of the heirs must agree that there is no need for an administration and no executor will be needed to settle the estate.

Succession With Administration

Some successions require an administration prior to placing the heirs in legal possession of the deceased person’s property. Reasons for this vary, but common reasons are to sell property, pay debts owed by the deceased person, or all of the heirs cannot agree on certain issues.

In each instance, there are rules to follow and documents that your succession attorney must prepare and file. You’ll need someone with experience to help you as not all property has to go through a succession. Your succession attorney at Stinson Law firm will advise you.

Do you need help with a Succession?
  • What information would someone need to complete a succession?

Here is a shortened list. Speak to us if you are unsure about anything.

  • The original testament of the deceased. It must eventually be filed into the succession record at the courthouse.
  • Make a list of all the involved parties. Your list should include all the heirs and any creditors that you know of.
  • What assets did the deceased have? List real estate, brokerage accounts, bank accounts, boats, and vehicles.
  • Make a list of debts. This can include mortgages, outstanding credit card balances, and more.
  • Do I need a will?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a will.

However, if you choose not to have one, your property will be distributed in ways that were perhaps not your intention. Speak to Doug Stinson at Stinson Law Firm in Shreveport-Bossier City to make a more informed decision.

A will can be a fantastic legal vehicle to do things for you after your death. It can:

  • It can create a trust for the next generation or special need-heirs.
  • You can include special provisions to curb the spending habits of spendthrift heirs.
  • You can appoint someone – called an executor – to carry out your wishes.
Do you need help with a Will?

Power of Attorney

‘Power of attorney’ is essentially a type of permission given to a party to act on your behalf.

It is used in exceptional circumstances (for example, a healthcare power of attorney gives someone the right to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to) or for all matters (general power of attorney.) A power of attorney can also be specific for a certain act such as selling a home but a party to the sale cannot attend the closing.

The second option is often used for elderly people. A power of attorney can be convenient for loved ones of an elderly person or person that is sick because the person that is designated as agent can sign legal documents for their loved one.

Stinson Law Firm deals with these matters every day. We’d be happy to assist you in setting up a power of attorney for your estate and affairs.

Living Will

A living will is a written declaration made by an adult person that directs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures in the event the person should have a terminal and irreversible condition. A living will allows the one with the terminal and irreversible condition to make the difficult decision regarding the withholding of life sustaining measures. This document will be enforced only if
  1. The person suffers from an incurable injury, disease or illness, or in a continual comatose state with no reasonable chance of recovery, and
  2. The person’s condition is certified to be a terminal and irreversible condition by two physicians who personally examine the person, one of whom is the person’s attending physician.

Frequently Asked Questions

Forced heirship is a legal concept unique to Louisiana. A forced heir is a descendant of the first degree that is under the age of 24 and/or permanently incapable of taking care of himself/herself or their estates due a physical or mental condition on the date of death of the deceased person. If a deceased person has one forced heir, the forced heir is entitled to one-fourth of the deceased person’s estate, regardless if the person had a will or not. If a person dies with two or more forced heirs, those forced heirs are entitled to half of the deceased person’s estate.

Writing your own will or using a form you find on the internet is risky because Louisiana law requires that last will and testaments meet certain form requirements. If the form requirements are not met the last will and testament will be ruled invalid. In these cases, a person’s wishes for how their estates should be divided will not be honored. Also, writing a will without a legal background can sometimes lead to confusion as to the intent of the testator. There is an increased chance of litigation between potential heirs if there is confusion regarding the intent in a person’s will. Litigation can be costly and stressful. Stinson Law Firm has experience in drafting last wills and testaments that meet the necessary form requirements as well as experience in contested successions when potential heirs disagree about issues in succession.

Yes. Obtaining a judgment of possession is important when land and a house is involved because the judgment of possession will put title of the property in the heir’s name. An heir will not be able to sell the property, sign an oil and gas lease for the property, etc., without having title.

Contact us with your Succession or Living Will question

Stinson Law Firm can help with your living will and power of attorney issues. Make an appointment with our office today.