Once a family member passes on, there is the question of what happens to their estate. In the court of law, estate refers to the property, rights, and obligations after their death. Succession is transferring estate ownership to a living person, and there are two types: testate and intestate. The determining factor succession type is the will of the decedent or the lack thereof. A probate lawyer near you, like Latiolais Law, can help you determine which kind of succession applies to your case and how to proceed.
A testate succession occurs when the decedent dies with a valid will. In the case of testate succession, the deceased’s estate is distributed in the manner set out in the will. For a will to be valid, it must meet particular criteria:
- Olographic- completely handwritten and signed at the bottom with the date
- Notarial- notarized in the presence of two witnesses, marked on each page, with an attestation clause.
The law of intestate succession applies if the following applies when someone dies either without a will, with an invalid will, with a will which organizes only part of their property, or with a will attempting to dispose of all their property, but the will is only partially valid. By default, the estate in question is transferred to a successor in the following order:
- Children and grandchildren
- Parents or grandparents
- Siblings, aunts, and uncles, nieces and nephews, or cousins
- A spouse that is not judicially separated
- If the decedent does not have any family, the state succeeds the estate.
Leaving a will behind prevents the sometimes unwanted legal process of intestate succession and provides your family and friends with a piece of mind when it comes to your estate. The law professionals at Latiolais Law Firm can help plan your estate to ensure it is left in the right hands. If you find yourself in an intestate succession situation, Emily Latiolais can knowledgeably guide you through the legal process.