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What are Spouse’s rights?

In the event a decedent dies without a valid will while married, Louisiana law provides different treatment for what happens to assets that are “community property” and those assets that are “separate property” of the decedent.

Generally, community property assets are things that were acquired during the marriage of the decedent and his or her spouse that jointly belong to the decedent and his or her spouse. Those assets which are not community property are considered separate property assets of the decedent.

If the decedent did not have any children, his or her spouse inherits all of decedent’s community property. However, if the deceased spouse is survived by children, the surviving spouse receives only a right to use (usufruct) the community property until his or her death or remarriage, whichever occurs first. The ownership of the community property goes to the decedent’s children subject to the usufruct.

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