of Common Terms
Heirs - Heirs of the decedent who
cannot be located. Heirs who have left the
state can appoint an agent in Louisiana
if the need arises.
without Administration - Acceptance
without Administration is the most common
form of succession procedure. It is sometimes
referred to as a Simple Putting in Possession.
It is available whenever the succession
is clearly solvent and there is no need
for an administration.
- The parish in which the decedent permanently
resided at the time of his death. If the
decedent was temporarily residing in another
parish at the time of his death his domicile
will remain in the last parish in which
he permanently resided.
Succession - A procedure for handling
an intestate succession when there is no
immovable property, the heirs are ascendants,
descendants, spouse or brothers and sisters
of the decedent and the gross value of the
estate is less than $50,000. It entails
executing an affidavit, preparing a Louisiana
Inheritance Tax Return, paying any taxes
that are due and procuring a stamp from
the collector of inheritance taxes. It is
not necessary to file any pleadings in court.
- A person who owes a duty to another to
protect that person's interest. Generally,
a fiduciary has the obligation to place
the interest of that other person above
his or her own interest.
Heirs - Heirs to whom a decedent
must leave a portion of his estate. This
is established by the Louisiana Constitution.
Currently, forced heirs are children of
the decedent who have not yet reached their
24th birthday when their parent dies, and
children of the decedent who because of
mental incapacity or physical infirmity
will be permanently unable to take care
of themselves or administering their estates.
If there is one forced heir, the forced
portion which must be left to that heir
is 25%. If there are two or more forced
heirs, the forced portion which must be
left to those heirs is 50%. In no case,
will the forced portion be more than that
heir would inherit in an intestate succession.
- A person who inherits from another person
who had died intestate. A person who inherits
under the terms of a valid testament is
called a legatee.
- From the Latin words 'homo' meaning same
and 'logis' meaning thinking. When the judge
is of the same thinking as the succession
representative, he homologates the document
which the succession representative is proposing.
This has the effect of approving the proposal
and making it the judgment of the court.
Property - Generally, this term
applies to real estate, but it can also
include an interest in real estate that
is not full ownership. For example, a long
term lease of ground for construction of
an office building, a mineral servitude,
or being the payee on a loan which is secured
by a mortgage on immovable property are
- When a person dies without having executed
a testament, or if he had executed a testament,
it was revoked by the testator before he
died or if the testament was declared invalid
by a court of law.
of Possession - A judgment in a
succession procedure which recognizes who
are the heirs or legatees of the decedent
and transfers all of the property to those
heirs or legatees. It usually orders all
financial institutions and stock transfer
agents to turn over the accounts and stocks
in the name of the decedent to his heirs
- The power of a court to hear a case. In
succession proceedings, the only court which
has jurisdiction is the court for the parish
in which the decedent was domiciled at the
time of his death. If the decedent resided
outside of Louisiana at the time of his
death, any parish in which he owned immovable
property has jurisdiction to resolve any
questions concerning that immovable property.
- A person who inherits from another under
the terms of a valid testament.
Testament - A handwritten testament.
It must be entirely hadnwritten by the testator,
dated, signed by the testator at the end
and contain language which clearly indicates
that he intends that document to be his
testament. Our experience shows that the
majority of cases where the validity of
the testament was challenged were olographic
testaments, even though olographic testaments
only makeup a small percentage of testaments
that are probated.
- The legal procedure for proving that a
testament is valid and is the last testament
executed by the decedent.
- When an heir or legatee predeceases the
decedent in a succession, that predeceased
heir or legatee may be represented in the
succession by his children. Representation
takes place when the predeceased heir or
legatee was a spouse, descendant or ascendant,
or brother or sister.
putting in possession - The most
common form of succession proceeding. It
entails preparing several documents which
are presented to the collector of inheritance
taxes, along with a Louisiana Inheritance
Tax Return, and are then filed in the court
with jurisdiction over this succession.
After reviewing the pleadings and the receipt
from the collector of inheritance taxes,
a judge from that court will sign a Judgment
of Possession, which transfers all of the
assets of the decedent to his heirs or legatees.
- The succession is solvent if the assets
that the decedent owned were clearly greater
than the debts that he owed.
representative - The person appointed
by a judge who is responsible for collecting
all of the assets of the succession and
selling all assets that should be sold,
determining what debts are owed and seeing
to it that those debts are paid, presenting
any testament to the court for probate,
protecting the assets during the administration
of the succession and submitting a plan
to the judge for concluding the succession.
If the decedent died testate, the succession
representative will be called the executor
or executrix of the testament. If the decedent
died intestate, his succession representative
will be called the administrator or administratrix
of his succession.
of Distribution - A document by
which the succession representative proposes
to distribute assets of the succession,
either to pay debts of the succession or
to distribute assets to the heirs or legatees.
Notice of filing the tableau will be given
to anyone who requests it, and notice will
also be published in the official journal
for the parish. If no opposition to the
tableau is filed in the succession proceeding
within the time allowed, the succession
representative may submit an order homologating
the tableau, that is approving it, for the
judge's signature without a hearing.
- Commonly called a will or a last will
and testament. It is a document by which
the testator declares to whom he wishes
to leave his property after his death. In
the past, there were several types of testament
that were recognized by Louisiana law, but
now there are two. The 'notarial testament',
which should be prepared by an attorney
and will follow certain formalities, and
the olographic testament, which must be
written entirely in the hand of the testator,
indicate the date on which it was written
and be signed by the testator. Additionally,
the olographic testament must contain words
that clearly indicate that the document
is intended to be a testament.
- When a person dies having executed a testament
which remained valid at the time of his
- The person who executes a testament.
- The legal principal by which one person
has the right to use property and to receive
the things that property produces, that
is, its fruits. Another person retains the
right to receive the property when the usufruct
ends. When a person dies intestate, his
or her spouse will have the usufruct over
all the community property the couple owned
at the time of the decedent's death. This
is referred to as the 'legal usufruct' because
it takes place by operation of law. The
legal usufruct terminates when the surviving
spouse remarries or dies. The surviving
spouse can also voluntarily terminate a
usufruct, so that the children come into
the property in full ownership. The person
who holds the usufruct is called the usufructuary.