Dealing with the death of a loved one is not an easy process, as there are a myriad of emotions involved. In addition, you may have to deal with the recently deceased’s estate and ensuring the property is distributed to the beneficiaries properly. In Louisiana, and in many other states across the country, the estate enters the probate process as a way to ensure all of the final issues are settled. The estate administrator or executor of the estate is often the party responsible for ensuring all matters are taken care of appropriately.
Whether you are acting as the estate administrator, or are simply helping out with the probate process, it is important to understand what this process entails. Once you are given the death certificate, life insurance policies and other important documents, you must proceed with making arrangements to collect all of the property and assets belonging to the estate. You must then pay off any remaining debts, including taxes and funeral expenses, using the estate’s assets. Once the estate is resolved, the remaining property and assets are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will. The probate process may take several months or several years, depending on whether the beneficiaries are easy to find and all of the issues involving the estate are taken care of in a timely manner.
In some cases, the deceased may have not drafted a last will and testament. There may still be options in dividing property to close relatives; however, it can make the estate process difficult.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.