Despite estate planning experts in Baton Rouge extolling the benefits of seeing to such matters early on in one's life, a surprisingly high number of American adults do not have a will. While the issue of not having a will and testament in place may not concern you personally, you could be impacted should a person to whom you are an heir dies without one. Countless clients come to us here at Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law concerned with how the estates of their loved ones who died intestate (without a will) will be administered. Fortunately, the state has established guidelines to govern such cases.
Louisiana's laws regarding intestate succession can be found in Section 880 of the state's Civil Code. They detail exactly how a decedent's separate and community property is to be dispersed. Say that the decedent was your parent. All of their separate property (that which they owned independently) would pass to you and your siblings (with each of you receiving an equal share). This is true even if their surviving spouse is also your biological parent. If, however, the decedent is your spouse (and they have no surviving descendants), then the entirety of their separate property would pass to you.
What about their community property? Again, if you are a child of the decedent, then their surviving spouse would have a usufruct (right of use) over their share of the community property for the remainder of the spouse's life. Once they are deceased, that share of the community property would then also devolve to you and your siblings. The decedent's parents, siblings and other kin would only have a right to succession if they had no surviving spouse or issue.
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