Louisiana is a community property state
and things acquired by the effort, skill or industry of one spouse are shared
by both spouses. Generally, property acquired during a marriage is considered
community property. There are some exceptions such as property acquired with money
that is separate property or gifts made to one spouse.
Dying Without A Will
called intestacy, a decedent's property will go into the hands of the person or
class of people most closely related to the decedent as set forth by the Louisiana
Children (and possibly other decedents
Parents and/or siblings (If parents and siblings,
parents get a usufruct and siblings get naked ownership)
of the closest relationship inherit to the exclusion of others. If there are ascendants
of equal degree on both sides (mother and father), they split.
relatives (aunts, cousins) of the closest degree.
Surviving spouse gets a usufruct community property, all of decedent's children
get naked ownership in equal shares
If there are no children, surviving
spouse inherits all of community property
Parents and/or siblings will
get their relative's share (If parents and siblings, parents get a usufruct and
siblings get naked ownership)
Direct ascendants to the closest relationship
will get their relative's share. The closest by degree inherits to the exclusion
of others. If there are ascendants of equal degree on both sides (mother and father),
Collateral relatives (aunts, cousins) of the closest degree
will get their relative's share.
Children under the age of 24 and children of any age who cannot take care of themselves
are forced heirs and must inherit a portion of the estate. The portion is a percentage
based on the number of children (forced heirs). Grandchildren may be forced heirs
if their parent is deceased and would have been a forced heir.
All property of a deceased person must be probated for ownership to pass to another.
Small estates (value less than $50,000 and no immovable property) can be probated
with one pleading.
Trusts are juridical
entities that can have ownership of property. One benefit of trusts in estate
planning is allowing money and other assets to grow tax free until disbursed to
the beneficiaries. The types of trusts are too numerous to list and describe here.
There are two types of wills currently
used, olographic and notarial.
" An olographic will is written in the
testator's handwriting and has been signed and dated by the testator. To probate
an oligraphic will there must be evidence of the testator's handwriting.
A notarial will is a testament that has been signed before a notary and two witnesses.
The testator must sign every page of the testament.
The requirements of a will are donative intent and
to fit the formal requirements of the type of will, be it olographic or notarial.
This allows a person who is not the owner of property to enjoy the use and the
fruits of the property. An owner of property subject to a usufruct is called a
naked owner. Often times, a surviving spouse will get a usufruct over the community
property while the children get the naked ownership.
Tutors are assigned to minor children when both of the parents pass away. Parents
may indicate who they would like to serve in the event of their death. This can
be done in a will. If one parent survives the other, that parent may decide the
tutor of minor children. If deceased parents have not previously indicated who
they would like to serve as tutors, a court will decide.
Representation is when a person assumes the inheritance rights of a deceased parent.
Donations to children and siblings are subject to representation.