The Louisiana Affidavit for Small Succession: What is It?

Often we see cases in which a loved one dies with a small amount of property or assets. Though the size of the estate may be small, a succession may still be required to re-title or transfer the property of the estate.

A person’s estate is comprised of the rights, obligations and property that they leave after they die. It is important to remember that your heirs are not given legal right of possession of your estate until a succession is opened and completed. While a succession will often be required even for a small estate, sometimes the expense of opening a judicial succession may either exceed the amount of the estate assets, or significantly decrease the amount transmitted to the heirs.

In situations such as this, it may be prudent to consider whether an Affidavit for Small Succession may be used to save time and money. An Affidavit for Small Succession may be used only if the following criteria is met:

• The value of the decedent’s estate does not exceed $125,000.
• The decedent died without a valid last will and testament
• The decedent’s heirs only consist of his or her children, spouse, siblings or parents (some exceptions to this may apply).
• All heirs must agree to execute the Affidavit or be given notice of its execution and the opportunity to object.

One of the biggest benefits of using an Affidavit for Small Succession is cost effectiveness and time. This method provides a quick, inexpensive transfer of your loved one’s property to the possession of their heirs. In addition, most bank and financial institutions will accept this affidavit which can allow you to immediately access the accounts of your loved one so that it can be delivered to their heirs/and or surviving spouse.

Contact the Rhodes Law Firm to find out of an Affidavit for Small Succession is right for you.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint a person or organization, sometimes referred to as your agent, to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so. It is important to remember that a power of attorney does not take away your right to act on your behalf and is simply an extension of your authority.


Below we will discuss some various types of Powers of Attorney as well as the different levels of authority that they grant.


General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney gives very broad powers to your agent. These powers may include managing financial and business transactions, purchasing life insurance, settling legal claims, operating businesses, selling property and making donations, just to name a few. A general power of attorney is an effective tool that is often included in an estate plant to ensure that someone can handle personal affairs in the event that you are unable to do so as a result of a physical or mental incapacity


Special Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is an effective tool if you will be out of the country and need someone to handle certain matters,

A special power of attorney allows you to choose specific powers which your agent may exercise for a limited period of time. This is often used when someone cannot handle certain affairs due to other commitments or health reasons. Selling property, managing real estate, collecting debts, and handling business transactions are some of the common matters specified in the limited scope of a special power of attorney document.


Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney is a document that allows you to select the person that you want to make healthcare decisions for you if and when you become unable to make them for yourself.

These decisions may include the authority to give, withhold or withdraw informed consent to any type of health care, including but not limited to, medical and surgical treatments. Other decisions that may include psychiatric treatment, nursing care, hospitalization, treatment in a nursing home, home health care and organ donation.


Durable Power of Attorney

Suppose you become mentally incompetent due to illness or accident while you have a power of attorney in effect. In order to safeguard against the possibility that your power of attorney will become ineffective during your period of incapacity, you would need to sign a durable power of attorney.

Any medical, general or special power of attorney can be made durable my including special language known as a durability provision that will ensure the power of attorney is kept in effect at all times.


Final Notes

A valid power of attorney is a valuable tool which can save you and your loved ones time and money. Unexpected illness, injury or accidents can happen to anyone at any time. When an individual loses capacity due to an unexpected life event and there is no valid power of attorney in place, the only option may be an expensive and prolonged court proceeding do allow someone to manage their affairs.


While the internet and various online sources may provide a plethora of templates for documents such as a power of attorney, it is important to remember that the State of Louisiana carries a unique set of laws which may not be applicable to an online form. Use of an invalid form could render your power of attorney null-and-void which could cause you or your loved ones to undergo the same financial or emotional strain that you hoped to avoid.


Please contact us at The Rhodes Law Firm to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

Transparency During the Succession Process

Unfortunately, the death of a loved one can often lead to fighting between the heirs of the estate due to a concern that individual rights may not be protected. Often, a simple solution to these types of issues is transparency throughout the succession or probate process. Communication throughout each phase of the succession process can build trust between the heirs and appointed succession representative. Full transparency can alleviate existing concerns and eliminate the possibility of litigation related to the succession, saving you both time and money.


Taking steps such as providing interested parties with a copy of the last will and testament, providing information regarding all estate assets and their true values, and clearly communicating any anticipated delays in closing the succession or probate will make the succession process as efficient and cost effective as possible.


In the event your loved one passed away leaving no last will and testament, the consent of all of their heirs will be required for administration of the estate independently, which also saves time and money. For more information about independent administration, click here. Being open and honest about the status of the estate and its assets builds trust which can make it more likely to obtain any consents necessary for the independent administration of your loved one’s estate.