Act Number 323 of the 2011 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature modified the rules on small successions in Louisiana. In addition to some other changes, the law allows the use of the small succession procedure, which generally involves filing an affidavit rather than opening judicial proceedings, to transfer title to immovable property in Louisiana if the property has a value of $75,000.00 or less as of the date of death. Further, this new rule applies to successions of individuals who died either before or after the effective date of the legislation. Under this new rule, if a decedent was domiciled outside of Louisiana at the time of death and had a testament that has been probated by a court order of another state, then title to the immovable property in Louisiana, including mineral interests, can be transferred through the small succession procedure if the property has a gross value of $75,000.00 as of the date of death.
The new legislation may need some modification as it appears to only apply to ancillary probate proceedings that are testate and not intestate while it applies to Louisiana residents who die intestate. Given the fact that immovable property in Louisiana would be governed by Louisiana’s rules of intestacy, a non-Louisiana resident who dies intestate should be able to benefit from the same procedure. In any event, the new legislation is a step in the right direction to assist with ancillary probate proceedings in Louisiana, particularly when the property in Louisiana of nominal value. Often, the costs of an ancillary probate can be greater than the property involved.