TN 13 (09-14)

GN 02315.056 Louisiana Small Estates

A. Background on the Louisiana small succession statute

Article 3421, 3431, 3432, 3432.1, and 3434 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provide a procedure for the non-judicial handling of small succession by affidavit.

B. Louisiana small succession procedure

Article 3421 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure defines a small succession as the succession or the ancillary succession of a person who at any time has died leaving property in Louisiana having a gross value of $75,000 or less valued as of the date of death, or if the date of death occurred at least 25 years prior to the date of the filing of a small succession affidavit described below, leaving property in Louisiana of any value.

Article 3431 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides that it is not necessary to judicially open the small succession of a person domiciled in Louisiana who died intestate, or domiciled outside of Louisiana who died intestate or whose testament another state probated by court order, and whose sole heirs are his or her:

  1. descendants;

  2. ascendants;

  3. brothers or sisters, or descendants thereof;

  4. surviving spouse; or

  5. legatees under a testament probated by court order of another state.

When it is not necessary to judicially open a small succession, an affidavit of small succession meeting the requirements set forth in GN 02315.056C in this section is all that is necessary to authorize the release of any money or property described in the affidavit to the heirs listed in the affidavit.

C. Requirements for affidavits of small succession under Louisiana Law

1. Affidavit requirements for persons domiciled inside or outside of Louisiana who died intestate (without a valid will)

a. Affidavit execution requirements

For purposes of small succession of a person who died intestate while domiciled in or outside of Louisiana, Article 3432 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides that at least two persons must execute the affidavit, including the surviving spouse, if any, and one or more competent major heirs of the deceased, and the affidavit must be duly sworn before any officer or person authorized to administer oaths in the place where the affidavit is executed. If the deceased had no surviving spouse, at least two heirs must sign the affidavit. If the deceased had no surviving spouse and only one heir, a second person who has actual knowledge of the matters stated in the affidavit must also sign it. A natural tutor may execute the affidavit on behalf of a minor child without the necessity of filing a petition pursuant to Article 4061 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.

b. Affidavit content requirements

Article 3432 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure further provides that the affidavit must set forth:

  1. The deceased’s date of death, and his or her domicile at the time thereof;

  2. The fact that the deceased died intestate;

  3. The deceased’s marital status, the location of his or her last residence, and if he or she has a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse’s name, address, domicile, and location of last residence;

  4. The names and last known addresses of the deceased’s heirs, their relationship to the deceased, and a statement that an heir not signing the affidavit (a) cannot be located after the exercise of reasonable diligence, or (b) was given ten (10) days’ notice by U.S. mail of the affiants’ intent to execute an affidavit for small succession and did not object;

  5. A description of the deceased’s property, including whether the property is community or separate, and in the case of immovable property, sufficient identification of the property for purposes of transfer;

  6. A showing of the value of each item of property, and the aggregate value of all such property, at the time of the deceased’s death;

  7. A statement describing each heir’s respective interests in the property and whether a legal usufruct of the surviving spouse attaches to the property;

  8. An affirmation that, by signing the affidavit, the affiant, if an heir, has accepted the deceased’s succession; and

  9. An affirmation that, by signing the affidavit, the affiant swears under penalty of perjury that the information contained in the affidavit is true, correct, and complete to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief.

2. Affidavit requirements for persons domiciled outside of Louisiana who died testate (with a valid will)

a. Affidavit execution requirements

For purposes of small succession for a person domiciled outside of Louisiana who died testate, Article 3432.1 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides that at least two persons must execute the affidavit, including the surviving spouse, if any, and one or more of the deceased’s competent legatees, and the affidavit must be duly sworn before any officer or person authorized to administer oaths in the place where the affidavit is executed. If the deceased had no surviving spouse, at least two persons who have actual knowledge of the matters stated in the affidavit must sign it. A natural tutor may execute the affidavit on behalf of a minor child without the necessity of filing a petition pursuant to Article 4061.

b. Affidavit content requirements

Article 3432.1 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure further provides that the affidavit must set forth:

  1. The deceased’s date of death, and his or her domicile at the time thereof;

  2. The fact that the deceased died testate;

  3. The deceased’s marital status, the location of his or her last residence, and if he or she has a surviving spouse, the surviving spouse’s name, address, domicile, and location of last residence, together with the names and last known addresses of the deceased’s legal heirs, and identification of the legal heirs who are also the deceased’s forced heirs;

  4. The names and last known addresses of the deceased’s heirs, their relationship to the deceased, and a statement that an heir not signing the affidavit:

    1. cannot be located after the exercise of reasonable diligence, or

    2. was given ten (10) days’ notice by U.S. mail of the affiants’ intent to execute an affidavit for small succession and did not object;

  5. A description of the deceased’s property, including whether the property is community or separate, and in the case of immovable property, sufficient identification of the property for purposes of transfer;

  6. A showing of the value of each item of property subject to the jurisdiction of Louisiana courts, and the aggregate value of all such property, at the time of the deceased’s death;

  7. A statement describing each legatee’s respective interests in the property and whether a legal usufruct of the surviving spouse attaches to the property;

  8. An attachment consisting of certified copies of the testament and another state’s probate order;

  9. An affirmation that, by signing the affidavit, the affiant, if a legatee, has accepted the deceased’s legacy; and

  10. An affirmation that, by signing the affidavit, the affiant swears under penalty of perjury that the information contained in the affidavit is true, correct, and complete to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief.

D. Policy for Louisiana good acquittance

A multiple original of an affidavit of small succession that meets all the requirements described above, constitutes full and sufficient authority for a bank, financial institution, trust company, warehouseman, other depository, or any person having such property in his possession or under his control to pay or deliver any of the deceased’s money or property to the deceased’s heirs and the surviving spouse in community, if any, in the percentages listed in the affidavit. The receipt of the persons named in the affidavit as the deceased’s heirs, or the surviving spouse in community thereof, constitutes a full release and discharge for the payment of money or delivery of property.

References: La. Code Civ. Proc. Ann. Arts. 3421, 3431-3432, 3434 (West 2011); La. Acts 2008, No. 822, §§ 2-3.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202315056
GN 02315.056 - Louisiana Small Estates - 09/03/2014
Batch run: 09/03/2014
Rev:09/03/2014