How Long Does a Louisiana Probate Take To Complete?

Another tough question to accurately answer is, "How long does it take to complete a Louisiana probate? However, most people who go through it complain that it takes too long.

There are many factors that affect how long of a process the  court-supervised Louisiana Succession takes. The following are eight or so factors that affect the length of time it takes to complete a Louisiana probate:

(1)  How organized and cooperative all of the parties are. Generally, there is a lot of information that must be gathered, organized, and maintained, in order to complete a Louisiana Succession. In addition, the parties that are involved will need to sign off on different matters related to the Louisiana probate. The more organized and cooperative the parties are, the easier it is to get things done.

(2)  The quality of the plan put together by the attorney and heirs. Since there are often many steps involved in a Louisiana Succession, it can save time when the attorney lays out all of the steps that are involved, and communicates those steps and processes to the parties, so that there is no confusion as the steps are checked off. However, often, new matters creep up during a probate process and even the best laid plans must change.

(3)  How quickly family and assets information is obtained. Assets must be valued. Estate debts and administration expenses must be determined. Detailed asset and debt lists are prepared for the court to review prior to disbursements being authorized. 

(4)  How prompt is the attorney? Another factor that affect probate length of time is how prompt and efficient is the attorney in gathering information, preparing court pleadings, submitting pleadings and other paperwork to the heirs for notarized signatures, and filing and processing all of the court paperwork.

(5)  How quickly the parish clerk of court processes court pleadings and court orders. The parish clerk of court, and their employees, can play a significant role in determining how quickly a Louisiana Succession or Probate gets done. 

(6)  Is the judge staying on top of it? No Louisiana Succession is complete without a judge and his or her law clerk and staff reviewing the submitted court orders for accuracy. Sometimes the judicial system gets backed up causing further delay in the completion of the Louisiana Succession or Probate matter.

(7)  How quickly financial institutions react. The financial institutions (banks and brokerage firms, for example) must get their legal departments involved to review court orders and authorize disbursements to the executor or to the heirs. 

(8)  Completing paperwork, in general. Successions in Louisiana can require extensive paperwork. How quickly all of this paperwork gets processed accurately affects the length of time it takes to complete the matter.

In addition, there are at least three other circusmtances that can cause a Louisiana Probate or Succession to last years, if not never conclude. The first is if at least one of the parties is uncooperative. Second, if if there are federal estate tax consequences. The preparation and filing of a federal estate tax return prolongs everything due to the appraisal requirements and the IRS filing and recordkeeping requirements.  Third, if additional information or assets is discovered after you are winding things down. If you missed an asset, for example, or you find a more recent will, then it complicates the completion of the Louisiana Succession. 

So, it's really difficult to predict how long it will take. Pro-probate lawyers will argue that it's not that bad and it doesn't take too long.

However, consumers who have experienced many of the frustrations of probate typically rush to set up their estate planning program so that probate is avoided when they pass away.