Louisiana has several distinctive laws which can make the executor job easier. The first of those is the designation of the executor as “Independent.” This allows the executor to sell property and make decisions regarding the management of estate assets without court approval and without the approval of the other heirs.
Additionally, Louisiana allows a non-administered probate which means that if the heirs are all competent and they accept the estate assets, it is not necessary to liquidate the estate before it can be closed. In most cases, such as the surviving spouse being the only heir, he or she accepts the assets and agrees to be responsible for any outstanding, usually minimal, debts. Notices to the newspaper are not required, and a non-administered probate can be completed in four to six weeks.
If the heir or heirs are the surviving spouse and/or children it may not be necessary to do a full formal inventory of all of the assets. The executor provides the attorney with a list of all of the assets and debts and a “detailed descriptive list” of assets and debts is filed with the court. If the heirs then agree, the judge can order the assets transferred to the heirs without additional delay. It may not be necessary to have a full appraisal done of the house, especially if the surviving spouse does not intend to sell within the year. Further, setting up an estate account may not be necessary if the heir is a joint account holder with the deceased. Life insurance is usually not payable to the estate, but to a beneficiary and does not form part of the estate.
In most cases, the executor is the surviving spouse or one of the adult children of the deceased. The executor fee may be charged, but more commonly, it is not.
As Louisiana has particular laws on probate and the duties of an executor, a Louisiana attorney should be consulted for advice on being an executor of an estate for a Louisiana resident.