Probate is a court proceeding that deals with estates in intestacy as well as those with wills. Louisiana courts must decide on who gets your assets if you haven’t assigned beneficiaries yet. Here’s what then happens in the event of a probate case.
Will vs. trust
Your will differs from a trust in that it’s exposed to contests. A trust, being a common estate tool, instead, takes your assets and keeps them private. Deciding between these two is often more about avoiding probate. With a trust, your assets skip probate hearings entirely.
Probate is issued to examine a deceased’s estate while assigning beneficiaries to it. The process happens in direct response to your death. The public courts of Louisiana use a default system to disburse your assets. This process is used should you die without specific wishes in a will.
A probate case is also a time for families and friends to make statements and request more of your estate than you gave. Here are the typical categories your property falls into during a probate trial:
- Community property: This property exists in marriages, being the things you acquire and bought while married.
- Separate property: Things you owned before marriage, inheritances and land get declared as separate property in many cases.
The decisions made in a public court are followed through in what’s called a succession. How a succession forwards is based on the outcomes of the probate trial. A succession is led by an entity assigned as an executor. This relative, agency or court appointee executes your will along with the criteria set by a judge. The succession is the exact point when inheritors receive their assets, annuities get paid and property is sold.
Depending on how you’ve organized your estate, probate could pose a risk to your possessions and wishes. This trial leaves your will subject to objections and potentially changed by a judge, so it may be important to you to avoid probate.