Residents in Louisiana may have heard their relatives or friends in other states talk about probate, a legal process that may take place after a person dies. The state of Louisiana refers to probate as succession. Understanding some of the key elements to this process is important for anyone who may be the executor of a will or an heir to all or part of another person’s estate.
As explained by the State of Louisiana’s Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs, during succession, the assets and debts associated with the deceased person’s estate are identified. All money owed to other parties must be paid before any assets may be distributed to heirs. The payment of debts does have the ability to reduce the amount of money left in an estate that may be payable to any heirs.
In addition to items held as part of the estate, money that comes available in the form of beneficiary payments from life insurance policies, annuities or retirement accounts may be distributed to beneficiaries directly and are not used to pay any estate debts.
SmartAsset adds that one type of debt an estate may be required to pay is taxes. If an estate is valued over a certain amount, the filing of a federal estate tax return may be required. A federal trust income or estate income tax return is required as is both a state and federal income tax return on behalf of the decedent. Taxes are assessed separately on the individual and on their estate.