Independent Administration in Louisiana
Independent administration can be required by a valid Last Will and Testament. Otherwise, it is a matter of consent. If the decedent had a will, all general and universal legatees (those who inherit the property after specific bequests are satisfied) must consent to independent administration. If the decedent died intestate, all heirs must consent.
Independent administrators are not required to post bond unless required by the will (which would be unusual).
If Court-Supervised Administration is Required
If the succession doesn’t qualify for independent administration, the succession representative is responsible to administer the estate under court supervision. This requires the court to oversee every step of the administration process, including:
- Inventory – The succession representative must file an inventory of the assets of the estate. Louisiana law allows for a Sworn Detailed Descriptive List of the assets of the decedent to be filed in lieu of the inventory. This document must identify and list the assets owned by the decedent and the fair market value of each item on the date of death.
- Bond – The administrator may be required to post bond in an amount that exceeds one-quarter of the gross value of the estate (1.25 percent of the estate value).
- Annual Accountings – The succession administrator is required to file an annual accounting with the court. The court must review and approve the accounting.
- Dealing with Assets of the Estate – The succession administrator is responsible for dealing with assets of the estate, including sale of items, leases, mortgages, and other contracts involving the succession. Prior court approval is generally required for each action.
- Payment of Debts – Any creditor of the estate can submit a claim to the succession representative for payment. No particular form is required.
The succession representative should generally not pay debts from assets of the estate without publication and court authority. The only exceptions are for urgent debts and pursuant to an order to continue a business (if debts incurred in the regular course of the business). All other debts are included in a Proposed Tableau of Distribution and filed in the succession proceeding.