Baton Rouge Probate

Completing a Succession When a Child Is Already a Co-Owner of Property?

     Hey, I was working with a family recently, the parents had both recently passed away and the four children were getting together and they retained us to handle all the succession, or probate, matters. They had a question about a particular piece of property that their parents had owned.

     During the parent’s lifetime, the parents had donated a 10% share in that property to one of the children. Now that the parents have died, and all the parent’s assets are going to the children equally, the children were asking me who ends up with this piece of property? Well, as you might imagine, the child who owned the 10% will continue to own the 10% and then the parents 90% would wind up being transferred equally to the four children. If you do the math, the child with the 10% would continue with the 10% and each of four children would inherit 22.5%, which is one-fourth of the parents 90%. The child that already had 10% winds up with 32.5% of the property and the other three children each own 22.5%.

     You might figure how does that work because it is a house. How can you own a 22.5% interest in a house? Well, people can have an undivided interest, which means that each child, at least those three, own a 22.5% undivided interest in the whole house.  There is not particular tracks or rooms for each child. Each child has an undivided interest in the whole home. I

     If you have a situation like that and you want to get it all straight, feel free to reach out to us and we can have a conversation together.

Who Should Sell The Home: The Executor or the Heirs?

We've been dealing with a probate matter In East Baton Rouge Parish for a few months now. Dad died. Dad owned a home, some bank accounts, some investments, and a vehicle - pretty normal stuff. Accounts were frozen immediately when Dad. Dad had a Last Will and Testament naming Daughter as the independent executor. The Will leaves Dad's estate to eight different heirs.

Dad's house now needs to be sold. People are asking me what's the easiest way to get Dad's house sold. I told them that they have two options:

  1. Keep the estate open and have the one Independent Executor sell the home on behalf of the estate. When the Independent Executor sells the house, the check will be payable to "Estate of Dad," and Daughter, as Independent Executor, will deposit the check into an Estate account that she establishes. Then, we prepare the necessary accounting and get the proper court judgments to allow those estate funds to be disbursed to the eight different heirs in the proper proportions.
  2. Close out the estate, get the final judgment transferring the house to the eight heirs, and then having the eight heirs list and sell the house. This process settles the estate quicker and transfers Dad's assets to his heirs, but all of the eight heirs, as the new co-owners o the home, will have to participate and sign off on the listing of the home, the negotiation, and all eight heirs will have to participate in the closing of the home when those documents are prepared and need to be executed.

In this instance, it was a pretty obvious choice. The decision made, and the one we are moving forward on, is to keep the estate open, have the independent executor sell the home by herself, and then go through the process in a few months (or perhaps even years - depends on how long it takes to complete the sale) go through the final probate process of preparing the necessary accountings for the court, and petitioning the judge to sign off on the final court orders so that the executor and the financial institutions are ordered to release remaining funds to the heirs in the proper proportions.