A will is an effective estate planning tool that helps to ensure assets are distributed as intended by the party that passes on. The testator is the person who writes out a will that expresses the person’s wishes for how remaining assets are distributed after death. The will helps to prevent conflicts over remaining assets and helps to ensure any estate debts are paid after the testator passes on.
How a will works
When a legal and fully valid last will and testament is in effect and the testator passes on, an executor temporarily takes control of all estate assets and debts to determine the final tally. Once those debts are paid off, the will goes to a probate court. A probate court judge will review the case and ensure the will is legally valid. If any beneficiaries or others want to contest the will, the probate judge makes an initial ruling after assessing the arguments.
Where to file a will for assets distribution
After the testator passes on, the estate’s designated executor files the will with the probate court located in the same Louisiana parish in which the testator last had a legal residence. A surviving spouse or other family member also can file the will if no legal representative is designated by the testator. Once the court has the will and a full accounting of remaining debts, it ensures the creditors are paid before distributing assets. Once those debts are paid in full, the remaining assets are distributed as the will decrees.
Assets distribution might take time
Louisiana probate courts generally resolve wills and estate matters in a relatively short time when all necessary evidence of assets and debts are made available. As quickly as the debts get resolved the assets are distributed and the estate closed. The process can go more efficiently when using an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure the will is made out properly and meets all legal requirements. That can help to settle an estate’s matters more quickly at a time when the loss already makes it an emotional affair for many.