Louisiana does have a provision for an out of court “small succession” but it has several requirements that do not apply to most estates. There can be no will or only a will which has been probated in another state, the heirs are the children, parents and/or brothers or sisters. Further, the assets owned by the deceased must not exceed $75,000.00. The home also has to have been occupied by the deceased or his or her surviving spouse at the time of death unless they were not residing there due to illness, incapacity, natural disaster or destruction.

If the estate qualifies as a “small succession” then there must be an affidavit of death and heirship, a statement describing the property to be transferred and its value and an affirmation by the heirs that all the statements are true. Further, one must wait 90 days following the date of death and then file a multiple original of the affidavit and a certified copy of the death certificate in the court conveyance records.

There is no provision regarding payment of debts so any person who signs a small succession affidavit or receives property from a small succession becomes personally responsible for any outstanding debts.

Due to the potential problems with this type of succession proceeding, the fact that few people actually qualify for it, and the fact that the costs of preparing the documents necessary are about the same as that for a “regular succession,” 1 rarely use this method.

Louisiana residents should also be aware that Louisiana does not recognize “joint tenancy with right of survivorship” or “survivor deeds.”

As with all estate planning issues, each person’s situation is different and everyone should consult with an attorney with experience in this area.