Independent Administration of Estates in Louisiana
(Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC News Email 10/19/20) When someone dies in Louisiana with assets titled in their name, a court-supervised judicial proceeding called a Succession (also known as "probate") is required to transfer assets from the name of the deceased to the names of the heirs. Often, an administration is necessary when someone needs to manage assets and other estate matters during the months or years while the Succession is taking place.
The court proceeding is typically easier to handle if the Succession representative can act under the Louisiana Independent Administration of Estates procedures. If the Succession Representative is "Independent," then he or she can take many actions as executor (when a Will existed) or an administrator (when no Will existed) without as much prior judicial oversight.
The most common way for an executor to qualify as an independent executor is when the testament provides for it. The last will and testament may have a provision that reads something similar to, "My executor may act as an independent executor."
If a Last Will appoints an executor but fails to provide for independent administration, or if the Last Will fails to designate an executor, then all of the general or universal legatees may collectively designate a qualified person to serve as independent executor. A "particular legatee" does not have to give consent. Someone who receives a bequest like, "I leave $5,000 to X" is the recipient of a particular legacy. A disposition of all or a portion of the balance of the estate would be either a general or universal legacy, and the recipients of those legacies can collectively designate an independent executor.
If someone dies without a Last Will, then all of the intestate successors may collectively designate an independent administrator.
Consult with your estate attorney if you have a situation where someone left part of an estate to a trust, a minor, in usufruct, or if an heir/successor dies before having the opportunity to participate in the designation.
Once an executor is confirmed as an independent executor by the appropriate judge, the court will issue "Letters of Independent Executorship" to let third parties know that an independent executor has been confirmed and that this person has the powers of an independent executor. When an independent administrator has been appointed in an intestate Succession, the court issues Letters of Independent Administration.
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