Community Property
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
Also 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 Legislature.

Separate Property
– Children (and possibly other decedents through representation)
– Parents and/or siblings (If parents and siblings, parents get a usufruct and siblings get naked ownership)
– Direct ascendants 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.
– Collateral relatives (aunts, cousins) of the closest degree.

Community Property
– 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), they split.
– Collateral relatives (aunts, cousins) of the closest degree will get their relative's share.


Forced Heirs
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.

Succession/Probate
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
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.

Wills, Types
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.

Wills, Requirements
The requirements of a will are donative intent and to fit the formal requirements of the type of will, be it olographic or notarial.

Usufructs
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.

Minor Children
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
Representation is when a person assumes the inheritance rights of a deceased parent. Donations to children and siblings are subject to representation.