San Jose, CA asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Louisiana

Q: Will I have to file suit to move forward with possession of the property if the niece does not want to do a succession?

My friend(whom I did not marry) who died this year'2017 left me and his niece a house in his will and myself as executor. The niece has not come forward to do the succession. The will was signed by him and witnessed by two attorneys in the presence of his niece and I. The will has not been registered at the courthouse. I need to know the assets and expenses. The will was not registered prior to his death and I am not a sibling or child so I cannot get the death certificate only an attorney can get the death certificate. The attorney listed to assist in opening and closing the succession states it would be beneficial if we did the succession together or I will have to file suit for possession.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mr. James Zitzmann
Mr. James Zitzmann
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Covington, LA
  • Licensed in Louisiana

A: There seem to be a few moving parts here. You'll need to file a petition to open the succession regardless since it involves immovable property because you need to keep the title clear. When you say the niece has not come forward, does that mean you can't find her or she is contesting the will? Also, you indicated that you and the niece, both legatees under the will, were also witnesses to the will; this is problematic as it can cause the legacy to lapse. A legacy lapsing will change the distribution of assets. As for your other questions, it's not particularly important that the will wasn't registered beforehand or that you don't currently have the death certificate.

You'll want to get an attorney for this, especially since you're out if state. If you have any other questions, you can give me a call at 504-434-0462.

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