You have likely heard from many in Baton Rouge that the probate process is long and costly and one that should be avoided. That is the attitude that many bring with them when they come to see our team here at Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law. Yet the truth is that probate is not always bad, and contrary to what many may believe, probate court officials are not keen on wasting theirs or you time. Thus, they want to have the estate you are party to administered as fast as possible. That might even mean bypassing the probate process altogether.
No one wants to see a decedent's assets eaten up by probate costs. Therefore, smaller estates are allowed to skip probate so that their assets can be immediately dispersed to beneficiaries. To do this, you would need to file an affidavit of small succession. This allows you to collect all of the assets and properties that comprise your loved one estate's and disperse them to heirs at law with the court's approval.
Section 3421 of Louisiana's Code of Civil Procedure states that to qualify for an affidavit of small succession, the estate that you are party to have a total value of less than $75,000. In addition, you can only seek this action of you are the surviving spouse of the decedent or an identified adult heir. Your loved one must also have died within the last 25 years in order for this benefit to be extended. Thus, unresolved estate matters discovered several years after one's death may not qualify to be resolved in this manner.
More information on dealing with the probate process can be found throughout our site.