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Common Successions and Probate Questions



Successions

 

Question: What is a Succession?

A “succession” is a legal process for wrapping up the financial affairs of a deceased person (decedent). Generally, the process involves identifying and gathering the assets of the decedent, paying the debts of the decedent, and then distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries...



Bank Account & Wages

 

Question: My spouse just passed away. I need to access money from the bank accounts to pay bills and funeral expenses. Can I access the accounts now, or do I have to wait for a succession to be finished in order to get access to the funds?

Fortunately, Louisiana law provides a few quick, non-judicial, ways to access funds in bank accounts after the death of a parent or spouse. These procedures are useful in order to obtain immediate access to funds held on deposit in the event money is needed to pay bills or funeral expenses immediately following the death of a loved one...


Deceased Spouse’s Debt

 

Question: Am I responsible for my deceased wife’s credit card bills? The cards were only in her name but the credit card companies keep calling me for payment. Do I have to pay the bills in her name?

This issue sometimes arises after the death of a spouse, when the surviving spouse starts going through the mail and discovers for the first time that their deceased spouse had credit cards or other debts they did not know about. Many times the amounts owed on these bills have high balances which the surviving spouse simply cannot afford to pay. The surviving spouse quickly becomes concerned whether or not he or she is liable for the debt the deceased spouse left behind...


Estate Real Estate

 

Question: I need to sell real estate that has been in my family for generations. The title company says I need to open succession for my parents in order to be able to sell it. What does this mean and how long will it take?

We get this question often. The typical situation that is presented is that the client has a home or real estate that has been in the family and has simply been passed down. Their grandparents may have originally bought the property, and after they passed away the client’s parents began using the house. The client is now taking care of the property because their parents have now passed away...