Ancillary Probate and Successions in Louisiana

Each state’s probate laws are only effective for property located within that state’s borders.  If a non-resident dies with property in Louisiana, a special form of succession known as an ancillary probate will be needed to admit the decedent’s Last Will and Testament and deal with the non-resident’s Louisiana assets.

For example, assume that a Mississippi resident dies, leaving real estate in New Orleans, Louisiana.  A Mississippi probate proceeding will be required to deal with the decedent’s Mississippi property.  Because the decedent lived in Mississippi, the Mississippi proceeding would be referred to as the domiciliary probate.  But the Mississippi proceeding is only effective for assets located in the State of Mississippi.  A second proceeding—the ancillary probate—will need to be brought in Louisiana to deal with the New Orleans real estate.

The ancillary probate in Louisiana should be opened in the parish where the decedent owned real estate. If the decedent’s Louisiana assets do not include real estate, the ancillary proceeding should be opened in the parish where the decedent owned other assets.

Louisiana ancillary proceedings are similar to other court-supervised proceedings, with a few key differences:

  • If the estate is opened in the decedent’s home state, is unnecessary to formally probate the will in Louisiana.  An authenticated copy of the will can be admitted in Louisiana and, assuming it met the requirements of the law where the testator was domiciled at death or when the will was executed, it will be recognized as valid under Louisiana law.
  • The personal representative appointed in the domiciliary proceeding doesn’t have capacity to handle the Louisiana succession until he or she is appointed as succession representative by the Louisiana court. (There is one narrow exception in the wrongful death context.)
  • The personal representative appointed in the domiciliary proceeding is given priority for appointment in the Louisiana proceeding, assuming he or she otherwise meets the requirements for serving as a Louisiana succession representative.

Once the personal representative is appointed by the Louisiana court, the succession is handled under Louisiana’s general succession procedures.