The succession process, also known as probate, is the court-overseen process by which a person’s final or outstanding bills are paid and their assets are transferred to their heirs. Succession is a three-step process. First, a petition to open succession is filed with the court, along with a decedent’s will, their death certificate, and any affidavits. At this time, the estate executor may also begin managing and wrapping up the decedent’s estate. Second, all of the decedent’s assets are identified, described, and valued. (This is often the most time-consuming step in the succession process.) Third, a petition to close succession is filed with the court. When the judge signs the judgment of succession, the document transfers asset titles to the heirs and closes the process of succession.

It is difficult to determine exactly how long the succession process will take because it is based on a number of different factors. Some of those factors include: how organized the parties and estate executor are; how quickly the assets are obtained, inventoried, and valued; how quickly the parish clerk of court processes the court pleadings and court orders; whether the judicial docket is backed up; how quickly financial institutions review court orders and authorize disbursements; and whether all of the parties are being cooperative. Typically, if the estate is debt free and the heirs accept their inheritance without conflict, the succession process may be completed in a few weeks or less. Otherwise, the more complex successions may take several months or longer to complete, depending on the issues involved.

Unfortunately, during the succession process, additional complexities or disputes do arise. These disputes cannot only tear a family apart, but can also have dire financial consequences. At Wealth Planning Law Group, we help families navigate the succession process as efficiently and compassionately as possible. Our attorneys understand what you are going through and can manage every detail, no matter how complex your particular succession may be. We will find the best way to protect your estate and your loved ones. Contact us for an initial consultation at (504) 212-3440 or