Experienced New Orleans Probate Attorney
What are Succession Disputes and Probate Litigation?
In Louisiana, probate law is known as succession law. “Succession” and “estate” are often used interchangeably to refer to property owned by a decedent at the time of death. Succession transfers the estate of the deceased to his or her successors or heirs. Even though many individuals may take physical possession of succession property prior to the opening and completion of succession, a succession must be opened and completed for the process to be legal. If you need help with a probate dispute, it’s important to seek the help of a succession dispute attorney.
A decedent’s estate includes not only the property, rights, and obligations he or she had upon death; it also consists of any rights and obligations that have accrued since the death. In Louisiana, an estate worth less than $75,000 may be eligible for a simpler succession procedure. This is known as “heirship affidavit.” However, an experienced succession attorney is necessary to ensure all matters are handled in the proper, legal manner.
Succession disputes are not just legally complex; these matters are often very emotional and very personal. Disagreements after a loved one’s death can be extremely sensitive and involve personal property, real estate, or other assets. Having a highly qualified succession dispute attorney involved allows agreements through negotiation or other alternative dispute resolutions to be reached. In some cases, a trial is in the best interests of certain successors. An experienced attorney can perform all necessary discovery, pursuing a detailed trial strategy in the interests of the ideal outcome.
What Can a Succession Dispute Attorney Do?
At New Orleans Legal, succession dispute attorney Peter Diiorio can assist clients with succession dispute litigation across a wide array of issues, including the following:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Lack of capacity
- Contests to wills or trusts
- Proving or challenging the legitimacy of a will
- Undue influence on the decedent when the will was prepared
- Malfeasance on the part of the executor
- Will and trust fraud
- Confirming or disputing who the heirs are in a Louisiana succession
- Disputes regarding Power of Attorney
- Verifying or disputing what each heir is entitled to receive
- Authorizing or disputing the actions of a succession representative
- Validating or disputing the expenses used by a succession representative
- Conservatorship litigation
- Accounting disputes
Family-owned businesses can complicate successions exponentially; Peter Diiorio is knowledgeable and highly skilled regarding disputes which can occur following the death of the business owner.
How Succession Dispute Attorney Peter J. Diiorio Can Help
Attorney Peter J. Diiorio helps individuals and families with successions, primarily when disputes are at hand. Our firm represents both succession representatives, heirs, and anyone asserting a claim to become either a succession representative or an heir. At New Orleans Legal total client satisfaction is the foremost priority. Peter has helped hundreds of those in New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana obtain the solutions they need, whether with a succession dispute or other legal matters. Peter prides himself on providing personalized attention, delivering prompt communication, so clients always know exactly where their succession case stands.
What is Succession in New Orleans?
Successions should be opened as quickly as possible following the death of the decedent. It may be necessary to open a succession so that the funds in the decedent’s bank account or other assets can be used to pay funeral expenses or outstanding medical bills. In some cases, successors may wait years to open a success. Then they may hit one stumbling block after another including lost documents or wills, or face tax sales of a home due to unpaid taxes. Waiting to open a succession virtually always makes the process much more complex and expensive.
The Succession Process
In the course of completing a succession, there may be issues associated with whether the decedent died testate (having a Last Will and Testament) or intestate (without a Last Will and Testament). There can be issues when the deceased dies, such as where the will is located, whether the will is valid, and whether the decedent had the mental capacity to make a will. For a person who dies intestate, the issues may be related to whether there is an heir, and who the heir or heirs may be. Either way, there are many tasks associated with death, including managing the estate, making sure the debts of the decedent are paid, and distributing the assets.
The process of succession requires a petition to open succession to be filed with the court, along with the decedent’s will (if one exists), the death certificate, and any affidavits. At this time, the executor of the estate is allowed to begin managing the estate. Next, the decedent’s assets must be identified and valued, which, depending on the size of the estate, can be a time-consuming process. Finally, a petition to close the succession will be filed with the court, a judge will sign the judgment of succession, and this document allows the transfer of asset titles to heirs, thus closing the process of succession.
How Long Will the Succession Dispute Process Take?
Many people want to know how long the succession process will take. This can be hard to estimate because of the number of factors involved. Some of those factors include the organization skills of the executor of the estate, how quickly the assets can be inventoried and valued, how quickly the parish clerk of court will process the court orders and pleadings, how backed up the judicial document is, how quickly financial institutions will review the court orders and authorize distributions, and whether there are disputes involved.
If an estate is relatively debt-free, and there is no conflict between the heirs, the succession process can be completed within a matter of weeks. Otherwise, successions can take several months (or even longer) to complete, depending on the issues involved. When complexities or disputes arise, it is imperative that there is an experienced succession dispute attorney to make the process much smoother.
How Much Could the Succession or Probate Process Cost?
Many folks also want to know how much the succession process will cost. Again, this can be difficult to estimate because of the same factors listed above. If there are disputes involved, the attorney’s fees and court costs will likely be more significant. However, many people do not know that the attorney’s fees of a succession representative are almost always paid out of or reimbursed out of the succession assets. For this reason, it is often extremely important to be appointed as succession representative, especially when the succession involves disputes so that the succession representative does not have to pay his or her own attorney fees even though he or she is the decider of what occurs within the succession.
Typically, the first qualified heir to petition the court will be appointed as succession representative, so when disputes are anticipated, it is critical to take action early. And not only will the succession representative not have to pay his or her own attorney’s fees and court costs out-of-pocket, but if the opposing party disputing the succession representative’s actions is also an heir, then that disputing party will be paying for both his or her own attorney’s fees and court costs and the attorney’s fees and court costs of the succession representation.
Getting the Help Needed with a Succession Dispute or Probate Litigation from New Orleans Legal, LLC
Few people understand all the legal issues associated with succession, particularly when disputes or litigation arise. Having a trusted succession dispute attorney like Peter Diiorio from New Orleans Legal can be an invaluable resource, reducing the stress involved, and helping ensure the desired outcome. Those facing a succession dispute/litigation should contact New Orleans Legal today.