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Code of Civil Procedure

Book VI. Probate Procedure

Title I. General Dispositions

Chapter 1. Jurisdiction

Art. 2811. Court in which succession opened

A proceeding to open a succession shall be brought in the district court of the parish where the deceased was domiciled at the time of his death.

If the deceased was not domiciled in this state at the time of his death, his succession may be opened in the district court of any parish where:

(1)  Immovable property of the deceased is situated; or,

(2)  Movable property of the deceased is situated, if he owned no immovable property in the state at the time of his death.

Art. 2812. Proceedings in different courts;  stay;  adoption of proceedings by court retaining jurisdiction

If proceedings to open the succession of a deceased person who was not domiciled in this state at the time of his death are brought in two or more district courts of competent jurisdiction, the court in which the proceeding was first brought shall retain jurisdiction over the succession, and the other courts shall stay their proceedings.

The court retaining jurisdiction may adopt by ex parte order any of the proceedings taken in any other Louisiana court of competent jurisdiction, with the same force and effect as if these proceedings had been taken in the adopting court.

Chapter 2. Evidence of Jurisdiction and Heirship

Art. 2821. Evidence of jurisdiction, death, and relationship

The deceased's domicile at the time of his death, his ownership of property in this state, and all other facts necessary to establish the jurisdiction of the court may be evidenced by affidavits.

The deceased's death, his marriage, and all other facts necessary to establish the relationship of his heirs may be evidenced either by official certificates issued by the proper public officer, or by affidavits.

Art. 2822. Requirements of affidavit evidence

The affidavits referred to in Article 2821 shall be executed by two persons having knowledge of the facts sworn to.  These affidavits shall be filed in the record of the succession proceeding.

Art. 2823. Additional evidence

In any case in which evidence by affidavit is permitted under Article 2821, the court may require further evidence of any fact sworn to therein by the introduction of evidence as in ordinary cases.

Art. 2824. No affidavit evidence of factual issues

No fact which is an issue in a contradictory proceeding in a succession may be proved by affidavit under Articles 2821 and 2822.  In all such contradictory proceedings, issues of fact shall be determined on the trial thereof only by evidence introduced as in ordinary cases.

Art. 2825. Costs

In all succession proceedings conducted ex parte, the court costs are to be paid as administration expenses.  In all contradictory succession proceedings, the court costs are to be paid by the party cast, unless the court directs otherwise.

Amended by Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 2826. Definition of certain terms used in Book VI

Except where the context clearly indicates otherwise, as used in the Articles of this Book:

(1)  "Residuary legatee" includes a recipient of a universal legacy or a general legacy, and also includes a residuary heir.

(2)  "Residuary heir" is a successor who inherits the residue of a testamentary succession in default of a valid disposition thereof by the testator.

(3)  "Succession representative" includes an administrator, provisional administrator, administrator of a vacant succession, executor, and dative testamentary executor.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Chapter 3. Probate and Registry of Testaments

Section 1. Procedure Preliminary to Probate

Art. 2851. Petition for probate

If the deceased is believed to have died testate, any person who considers that he has an interest in opening the succession may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for the probate and execution of the testament.

Art. 2852. Documents submitted with petition for probate

A.  The petitioner shall submit with his petition evidence of the death of the decedent, and of all other facts necessary to establish the jurisdiction of the court.

B.  If the testament is one other than a statutory testament, a notarial testament, or a nuncupative testament by public act, and is in the possession of the petitioner, he shall present it to the court, and pray that it be probated and executed.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 2853. Purported testament must be filed, though possessor doubts validity

If a person has possession of a document purporting to be the testament of a deceased person, even though he believes that the document is not the valid testament of the deceased, or has doubts concerning the validity thereof, he shall present it to the court with his petition praying that the document be filed in the record of the succession proceeding.

A person so presenting a purported testament to the court shall not be deemed to vouch for its authenticity or validity, nor precluded from asserting its invalidity.

Art. 2854. Search for testament

If the testament is not in the possession of the petitioner, he shall pray that the court direct that a search be made for the testament by a notary of the parish.  In its order directing the search, the court may order any person having in his possession or under his control any books, papers, or documents of the deceased, or any bank box, safety deposit vault, or other receptacle likely to contain the testament of the deceased, to permit the examination of the books, papers, and documents, and of the contents of the bank box, safety deposit vault, or other receptacle, by the notary.

Art. 2855. Return to order to search for testament

If the notary finds any document which purports to be a testament of the deceased, he shall take possession of it, and produce it in court with his written return to the order directing the search.  The original petitioner, or any other interested person, may petition for the probate of the testament so produced.

If the search is unsuccessful, despite diligent effort, the notary shall make his written return to this effect to the court.

Art. 2856. Probate hearing;  probate forthwith if witness present

When a testament that is required to be probated has been produced, the court shall order it presented for probate on a date and hour assigned.  If all necessary witnesses are present in court at the time the testament is produced, the court may order it presented for probate forthwith.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 2857. Proponent must produce witnesses;  subpoenas

The petitioner for the probate of the testament shall produce all necessary witnesses at the time assigned for the probate hearing, and may cause them to be subpoenaed to appear and testify.

Section 2. Ex Parte Probate of Testaments

Art. 2881. Ex parte probate if no objection

The court shall proceed to probate the testament ex parte as provided in Article 2882, unless an objection thereto is made at the hearing.

An objection to the ex parte probate of a testament may be presented in an opposition, or made orally at the hearing.  The opposition must comply with the provisions of Article 2902, and must be filed prior to the hearing.  The oral objection must specify the grounds of invalidity of the testament asserted, and must be urged immediately after the objector has had an opportunity to examine the purported testament.

Art. 2882. Proceedings at probate hearing

At the probate hearing the court shall open the testament, if it is enclosed in a sealed envelope, receive proof of the making of the testament as provided in Articles 2883 through 2889, may read the testament to those present, and shall paraph the top and bottom of each page of the testament by inscribing it "ne varietur" over the judicial signature.

Amended by Acts 1968 No. 130, §1.

Art. 2883. Olographic testament

A.  The olographic testament must be proved by the testimony of two credible witnesses that the testament was entirely written, dated, and signed in the testator's handwriting.  The court must satisfy itself, through interrogation or from the written affidavits or the depositions of the witnesses, that the handwriting and signature are those of the testator, and except as provided in Article 2890, must mention these facts in its proces verbal.

B.  A person's testimony for the purpose of this Article may be given in the form of an affidavit executed after the death of the testator stating that the olographic will was entirely written, dated, and signed in the testator's handwriting, unless the court in its discretion requires the person to appear and testify orally.  All affidavits accepted by the court in lieu of oral testimony shall be filed in the probate proceedings.  This Paragraph does not apply to testimony with respect to the genuineness of a will that is judicially attacked.

Acts 1983, No. 594, §1.  Acts 1984, No. 393, §1; Acts 1999, No. 85, §1.

Art. 2884. Nuncupative testament by private act

A.  Except as provided in Article 2886, the nuncupative testament by private act must be proved by the testimony of at least three of the competent witnesses present when it was made.  These witnesses must testify, in substance:

(1)  That they recognize the testament presented to them as being the same that was written in their presence by the testator, or by another person at his direction, or which the testator had written or caused to be written out of their presence and which he declared to them contained his testament; and

(2)  That they recognize their signatures and that of the testator, if they signed it, or the signature of him who signed for them, respectively, if they did not know how to sign their names.

B.  A person's testimony for the purpose of this Article may be given in the form of an affidavit executed after the death of the testator, unless the court in its discretion requires the person to appear and testify orally.  All affidavits accepted by the court in lieu of oral testimony shall be filed in the probate proceedings.  This Paragraph does not apply to testimony with respect to the genuineness of a will that is judicially attacked.

Acts 1987, No. 270, §1; Acts 1999, No. 85, §1.

Art. 2885. Mystic testament

A.  Except as provided in Article 2886, the mystic testament must be proved by the testimony of at least three of the witnesses who were present at the act of superscription.  These witnesses shall testify, in substance:

(1)  That they recognize the sealed envelope presented to them to be the same that the testator delivered to the notary in their presence, declaring to the latter that it contained the testator's testament; and

(2)  That they recognize their signatures and that of the notary in the act of superscription, if they signed it, or the signature of the notary and of the person who signed for them, if the witnesses did not know how to sign their names.

B.  The notary before whom the act of superscription has been passed may testify as one of the three witnesses required above.

C.  A person's testimony for the purpose of this Article may be given in the form of an affidavit executed after the death of the testator, unless the court in its discretion requires the person to appear and testify orally.  All affidavits accepted by the court in lieu of oral testimony shall be filed in the probate proceedings.  This Paragraph does not apply to testimony with respect to the genuineness of a will that is judicially attacked.

Acts 1987, No. 270, §1; Acts 1999, No. 85, §1.

Art. 2886. Probate of nuncupative testament by private act;  mystic testament, when witnesses dead, absent, or incapacitated

A.  If some of the witnesses to the nuncupative testament by private act, or to the act of superscription of the mystic testament, are dead, absent from the state, incapacitated, or cannot be located, so that it is not possible to procure the prescribed number of witnesses to prove the testament, it may be proved by the testimony of those witnesses then residing in the state and available.

B.  If the notary and all of the subscribing witnesses are dead, absent from the state, incapacitated, or cannot be located, the testament may be proved by the testimony of two credible witnesses who recognize the signature of the testator, or of the notary before whom the act of superscription of the mystic testament was passed, or the signatures of two of the witnesses to the nuncupative testament by private act, or to the act of superscription of the mystic testament.

C.  A person's testimony for the purpose of this Article may be given in the form of an affidavit executed after the death of the testator, unless the court in its discretion requires the person to appear and testify orally.  All affidavits accepted by the court in lieu of oral testimony shall be filed in the probate proceedings.  This Paragraph does not apply to testimony with respect to the genuineness of a will that is judicially attacked.

Amended by Acts 1980, No. 106, §2; Acts 1987, No. 270, §1; Acts 1999, No. 85, §1.

Art. 2888. Foreign testament

A written testament subscribed by the testator and made in a foreign country, or in another state, or a territory of the United States, in a form not valid in this state, but valid under the law of the place where made, or under the law of the testator's domicile, may be probated in this state by producing the evidence required under the law of the place where made, or under the law of the testator's domicile, respectively.

Art. 2889. Depositions of witnesses

A petitioner for the probate of a testament under the provisions of Articles 2882 through 2888 may obtain leave of court ex parte for the taking of the deposition of any witness whose testimony otherwise would not be available.  The provisions of Articles 1426, 1434 through 1436, 1443 through 1446, 1449, 1452, and 1469 through 1471, so far as applicable, shall govern the taking of such deposition.

Acts 1985, No. 26, §1.

Art. 2890. Procès verbal of probate

A.  A proces verbal of the hearing shall be prepared, signed by the judge or by the clerk, and by the witnesses who testified at the hearing, which shall be a record of the succession proceeding, and which shall recite or include:

(1)  The opening of the testament, and the manner in which proof of its authenticity and validity was submitted;

(2)  The names and surnames of the witnesses testifying, either personally or by affidavit or deposition; the substance of the testimony of the witnesses who testify personally at the hearing; and that any affidavits or depositions used are made a part thereof by attachment or by reference;

(3)  The paraphing of the testament by the court, as set forth in Article 2882;

(4)  An order that the testament be recorded, filed, and executed, if the court finds that it has been proved in accordance with law; or an order refusing to probate the testament, giving the substance of the court's reasons therefor.

B.  If written affidavits only are used to prove a will under Articles 2883 through 2887, the proces verbal shall be dispensed with, and the court shall render a written order that the testament be recorded, filed, and executed, if the court finds that it has been proved in accordance with law, or a written order refusing to probate the testament, giving the substance of the court's reasons therefor.

Amended by Acts 1968, No. 130, §1; Acts 1970, No. 475, §1; Acts 1984, No. 393, §1; Acts 1987, No. 270, §1.

Art. 2891. Notarial testament, nuncupative testament by public act, and statutory testament executed without probate

A notarial testament, a nuncupative testament by public act, and a statutory testament do not need to be proved.  Upon production of the testament, the court shall order it filed and executed and this order shall have the effect of probate.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

xecuted without probate LA CODE CIV PROC Tit. I, Art. 2892. Use of probate testimony in subsequent action

When a testament has been probated in accordance with law, the record of the substance of the testimony of any witness at the hearing, and the deposition of any witness taken under Article 2889, shall be admissible in evidence in any subsequent action in which it is sought to annul the testament, if at the time of trial thereof the witness has died, or for any other reason his testimony cannot be taken again either by subpoenaing him to appear at the trial, or by deposition.

Art. 2893. Period within which will must be probated

No testament shall be admitted to probate unless a petition therefor has been filed in a court of competent jurisdiction within five years after the judicial opening of the succession of the deceased.

Amended by Acts 1981, No. 316, §1; Acts 1986, No. 247, §1.

Section 3. Contradictory Probate of Testaments

Art. 2901. Contradictory trial required;  time to file opposition

If an objection is made to the ex parte probate of a testament, as provided in Article 2881, the testament may be probated only at a contradictory trial of the matter.  If only an oral objection is made to the ex parte probate, the court shall allow the opponent a reasonable delay, not exceeding ten days, to file his opposition.

Art. 2902. Opposition to petition for probate

The opposition to the petition for the probate of a testament shall comply with Article 2972, shall allege the grounds of invalidity of the testament relied on by the opponent, and shall be served upon the petitioner for the probate of the testament.

Art. 2903. Proponent bears burden of proof

At the contradictory trial to probate a testament, its proponent bears the burden of proving the authenticity of the testament, and its compliance with all of the formal requirements of law.

Art. 2904. Admissibility of videotape of execution of testament

A.  In a contradictory trial to probate a testament under Article 2901 or an action to annul a probated testament under Article 2931, and provided the testator is sworn by a person authorized to take oaths and the oath is recorded on the videotape, the videotape of the execution and reading of the testament by the testator may be admissible as evidence of any of the following:

(1)  The proper execution of the testament.

(2)  The intentions of the testator.

(3)  The mental state or capacity of the testator.

(4)  The authenticity of the testament.

(5)  Matters that are determined by a court to be relevant to the probate of the testament.

B.  For purposes of this Article, "videotape" means the visual recording on a magnetic tape, film, videotape, compact disc, digital versatile disc, digital video disc, or by other electronic means together with the associated oral record.

Acts 2005, No. 79, §1.

Chapter 4. Annulment of Probated Testaments

Art. 2931. Annulment of probated testament by direct action;  defendants;  summary proceeding

A probated testament may be annulled only by a direct action brought in the succession proceeding against the legatees, the residuary heir, if any, and the executor, if he has not been discharged.  The action shall be tried as a summary proceeding.

Amended by Acts 1984, No. 90, §2.

Art. 2932. Burden of proof in action to annul

A.  The plaintiff in an action to annul a probated testament has the burden of proving the invalidity thereof, unless the action was instituted within three months of the date the testament was probated.  In the latter event, the defendants have the burden of proving the authenticity of the testament, and its compliance with all of the formal requirements of the law.

B.  In an action to annul a notarial testament, a nuncupative testament by public act, or a statutory testament, however, the plaintiff always has the burden of proving the invalidity of the testament.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Chapter 5. Payment of State Inheritance Taxes

Art. 2952. Descriptive list of property, if no inventory

A. If no inventory of the property left by the deceased has been taken, any heir, legatee, or other interested party shall file in the succession proceeding a detailed descriptive list, sworn to and subscribed by him, of all items of property composing the succession of the deceased, stating the actual cash value of each item at the time of the death of the deceased.

B. The detailed descriptive list shall be sealed upon the request of an heir or legatee.

C. If the detailed descriptive list is sealed, a copy shall be provided to the decedent's universal successors and surviving spouse. Upon motion of any successor, surviving spouse, or creditor of the estate, the court may furnish relevant information contained in the detailed descriptive list regarding assets and liabilities of the estate.

Acts 2020, No. 19, §2.

Chapter 6. General Rules of Procedure

Art. 2971. Pleading and service of process

Except as otherwise provided by law, the rules of pleading and service of process applicable in ordinary proceedings shall apply to succession proceedings.

A certified copy of the petition, opposition, contradictory motion, or rule initiating a contradictory succession proceeding shall be served on the adverse party; but citation is necessary only in those cases in which it is specifically required by law.

An opposition may be served upon the adverse party as provided in Article 1313.

Art. 2972. Oppositions

An opposition to the petition, motion, or other application of a party to a succession proceeding for an order or judgment of the court shall be in writing and be filed within the delay allowed.  It shall comply with the provisions of Articles 853 through 863; shall state the name, surname, and domicile of the opponent; shall allege the interest of opponent in filing the opposition, and the grounds for opposing the petition, motion, or other application; and shall conclude with a prayer for appropriate relief.

Art. 2973. Responsive pleadings to opposition

Responsive pleadings to an opposition may be filed as provided in Article 2593.

Art. 2974. Appeals

Appeals from orders or judgments rendered in succession proceedings shall be governed by the rules applicable to appeals in ordinary proceedings, except that an order or judgment confirming, appointing, or removing a succession representative, or granting an interim allowance under Article 3321 shall be executed provisionally, notwithstanding appeal.

The acts of a succession representative shall not be invalidated by the annulment of his appointment on appeal.

Title II. Acceptance of Successions Without Administration

Chapter 1. Intestate Successions

Art. 3001. Sending into possession without administration when all heirs are competent and accept

A.  The heirs of an intestate decedent shall be recognized by the court, and sent into possession of his property without an administration of the succession, on the ex parte petition of all of the heirs, when all of them are competent and accept the succession, and the succession is relatively free of debt.  A succession shall be deemed relatively free of debt when its only debts are administration expenses, mortgages not in arrears, and debts of the decedent that are small in comparison with the assets of the succession.

B.  The surviving spouse in community of an intestate decedent shall be recognized by the court on ex parte petition as entitled to the possession of an undivided half of the community, and of the other undivided half to the extent that he has the usufruct thereof, without an administration of the succession, when the succession is relatively free of debt, as provided above.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 711, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1980; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3002. Same;  petition for possession

The petition of the heirs for possession under Article 3001 shall include allegations as to: the competency of the petitioners; the date of death of the deceased, and all other facts on which the jurisdiction of the court is based; the facts showing that petitioners are the sole heirs of the deceased; and that the succession is relatively free of debt, as provided in Article 3001.

The petition of the surviving spouse in community for possession under Article 3001 shall include all of the above allegations except those relating to heirship; shall allege the facts showing that he is the surviving spouse in community; shall state what property belonged to the community; and if he claims the usufruct of any interest in the community property, shall allege the fact showing that he is entitled thereto.

The allegations of the petition for possession shall be verified by the affidavit of at least one of the petitioners.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 711, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1980.

Art. 3003. Same;  evidence of allegations of petition for possession

Evidence of the allegations of the petition for possession, under Articles 3002 or 3005, as to the death of the deceased, jurisdiction of the court, marriage of the spouses, and relationship of the petitioners to the deceased, shall be submitted to the court as provided by Articles 2821 through 2823.

Art. 3004. Discretionary power to send heirs and surviving spouse into possession

A.  The heirs of an intestate decedent may be recognized by the court, and sent into possession of his property without an administration of his succession when none of the creditors of the succession has demanded its administration, on the ex parte petition of any of the following:

(1)  Those of the heirs who are competent, if all of them accept the succession.

(2)  The legal representative of the incompetent heirs, if all of the heirs are incompetent and a legal representative has been appointed therefor.

(3)  The surviving spouse in community of the decedent, if all of the heirs are incompetent and no legal representative has been appointed for some or all of them.

B.  In such cases, the surviving spouse in community of the decedent may be recognized by the court as entitled to the possession of the community property, as provided in Article 3001.

Amended by Acts 1961, No. 23, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3005. Same;  petition for possession;  evidence

The petition of the heirs for possession under Article 3004 shall include allegations as to: the competency of the petitioners; the date of death of the intestate, and all other facts on which the jurisdiction of the court is based; and the facts showing that petitioners and the incompetent heirs named in the petition, if any, are the sole heirs of the intestate.

The petition of the surviving spouse in community for possession under Article 3004 shall include all of the pertinent allegations of Article 3002.

The allegation of the petition for possession shall be verified by the affidavit of at least one of the petitioners.

The allegations of the petition for possession shall be proved as provided in Article 3003.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 711, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1980.

Art. 3006. Same;  when one of competent heirs cannot join in petition for possession

If a competent heir of an intestate resides out of the state and cannot be located, or his whereabouts are unknown, the other competent heirs may be sent into possession of the property without an administration of the succession, as provided herein and in Articles 3004 and 3005.

Upon the filing of the petition for possession, the court shall appoint an attorney at law to represent the absent heir, and shall order him to show cause why the heirs of the intestate should not be recognized, and sent into possession of the property of the intestate without an administration of the succession.

After a hearing on the rule against the attorney for the absentee, if the court concludes that the succession is thoroughly solvent and that there is no necessity for an administration, it may send all the heirs of the intestate, including the absentee, into possession.

Art. 3007. Creditor may demand security when heirs sent into possession

When the heirs of an intestate, or the heirs and the surviving spouse thereof, have been sent into possession of the property of the intestate under Articles 3001 or 3004, any creditor having a claim against the succession may file in the succession proceeding, within three months of the date of the judgment of possession, a contradictory motion against all parties sent into possession to compel them to furnish security for the payment of his claim.

On the trial of this motion, the court may order the parties sent into possession to furnish such security as it deems necessary to protect the claimant.

Art. 3008. Administration in default of security

If the security required by the court under Article 3007 is not furnished within the delay allowed, on ex parte motion of the creditor, the court shall render a judgment annulling the judgment of possession, directing the cancellation of all inscriptions of the registry thereof, ordering an administration of the succession, and ordering the parties sent into possession to surrender to the administrator to be appointed thereafter all of the property of the deceased which they have received, and which they have not alienated.

Conventional mortgages and other encumbrances placed by the heirs, legatees, or surviving spouse in community on property so surrendered, and recorded prior to the cancellation of the inscription of the registry of the judgment of possession, shall retain their initial force and effect despite the administration of the succession.

Chapter 2. Testate Successions

Art. 3031. Sending legatees into possession without administration

A.  When a testament has been probated or given the effect of probate, and subject to the provisions of Article 3033, the court may send all of the legatees into possession of their respective legacies without an administration of the succession, on the ex parte petition of all of the general and universal legatees, if each of them is either competent or is acting through a qualified legal representative, and each of them accepts the succession, and none of the creditors of the succession has demanded its administration.

B.  In such cases, the surviving spouse in community of the testator may be recognized by the court as entitled to the possession of the community property, as provided in Article 3001.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3032. Same;  petition for possession;  evidence

The petition of the legatees for possession under Article 3031 shall include allegations that all of the petitioners are either competent or are acting through their qualified legal representatives.  The person named as executor in the testament shall join in the petition, except as otherwise provided by Article 3033.

The petition of the surviving spouse in community for possession under Article 3031 shall comply with all of the pertinent provisions of Article 3002.

The allegations of the petition for possession shall be verified by the affidavit of at least one of the petitioners.

The allegations of the petition for possession shall be proved as provided in Article 3003.

Amended by Acts 1979, No. 711, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 1980.

Art. 3033. Same;  compensation of executor

If the testament is dated prior to January 1, 1961, the person named therein as executor shall be entitled to the full compensation allowed by law for an executor's services in administering a testate succession, even though he may not have been confirmed as executor.

If the testament is dated subsequent to December 31, 1960, the person named therein as executor shall be entitled to reasonable compensation for the services which he has rendered, whether he has been confirmed as executor or not.

Except as provided hereinafter, the legatees may be sent into possession only if the person named in the testament as executor joins in the petition thereof.

If the residuary legatee and the person named in the testament as executor cannot agree upon the compensation due him, or for any other reason he refuses to join in the petition for possession, the residuary legatee may rule him into court to show cause why the compensation due should not be determined judicially, and why the legatees should not be sent into possession of their legacies.  The court shall not send the legatees into possession until satisfactory proof has been submitted that the compensation determined to be due the person named in the testament as executor has been paid.

Art. 3034. Creditor may demand security when legatees sent into possession;  administration in default of security

When the legatees of a testator, or the legatees and the surviving spouse in community thereof, have been sent into possession of his property under Article 3031, any creditor having a claim against the succession may compel the parties sent into possession to furnish security for the payment of his claim, and may require an administration of the succession in default of such security, as provided by Articles 3007 and 3008.

Art. 3035. Particular legatee may demand security for delivery of legacy;  administration in default of security

A particular legatee who has not received his legacy after being sent into possession by judgment may demand that the residuary legatee furnish security for the delivery of his legacy and may require an administration of the succession in default of such security, as provided by Articles 3007 and 3008.

Chapter 3. Judgments of Possession

Art. 3061. Judgment rendered and signed immediately

A.  The court shall render and sign immediately a judgment of possession, if it finds from an examination of the petition for possession, and from the record of the proceeding, that the petitioners are entitled to the relief prayed for.

B.  The judgment shall recognize the petitioners as the heirs, legatees, surviving spouse in community, or usufructuary, as the case may be, of the deceased, send the heirs or legatees into possession of the property owned by the deceased at the time of his death, and recognize the surviving spouse in community as entitled to the possession of an undivided one-half of the community property, and of the other undivided one-half to the extent that he has the usufruct thereof.  The judgment shall include the last known address of at least one of the heirs or legatees or the surviving spouse, as the case may be, sent into possession of the property of the deceased.  The failure to include the address of at least one of the heirs or legatees or the surviving spouse shall not affect the validity of the judgment.

C.  A judgment sending one or more petitioners into possession under a testamentary usufruct or trust automatically incorporates all the terms of the testamentary usufruct or trust without the necessity of stating the terms in the judgment.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 326, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1973; Acts 2001, No. 641, §1; Acts 2006, No. 314, §1; Acts 2010, No. 175, §1; Acts 2010, No. 226, §1.

Art. 3062. Effect of judgment of possession

The judgment of possession rendered in a succession proceeding shall be prima facie evidence of the relationship to the deceased of the parties recognized therein, as heir, legatee, surviving spouse in community, or usufructuary, as the case may be, and of their right to the possession of the estate of the deceased.

Title III. Administration of Successions

Chapter 1. Qualification of Succession Representatives

Section 1. Executors

Art. 3081. Petition for confirmation

After the probate of the testament, or after its production into court as provided by Article 2891 if it is a nuncupative testament by public act, the person named as executor therein may petition the court for confirmation, and for the issuance of letters testamentary.  If he files the original petition for the execution of the testament, he may pray therein for the issuance of letters.

Art. 3082. Order of confirmation;  letters

Unless the person named in the testament as executor is disqualified on any of the grounds assigned in Article 3097, the court shall render an order upon his petition for confirmation, confirming him as testamentary executor and directing the issuance of letters testamentary to him after he has taken his oath of office and furnished security, if required.

Art. 3083. Appointment of dative testamentary executor

If no executor has been named in the testament, or if the one named is dead, disqualified, or declines the trust, on its own motion or on motion of any interested party, the court shall appoint a dative testamentary executor, in the manner provided for the appointment of an administrator of an intestate succession.

Section 2. Administrators

Art. 3091. Petition for notice of application for appointment

An interested person desiring to be notified of the filing of an application for appointment as administrator, at any time after the death of the deceased, may petition the court in which the succession has been opened, or may be opened, for such notice.

A petition for such notice shall comply with Article 3092, shall bear the number and caption of the succession proceeding, and shall be docketed and filed by the clerk in the record thereof.

When a petition for such notice has been filed within ten days of the death of the deceased, or prior to the application for appointment as administrator, the applicant for appointment shall serve the notice prayed for, as provided in Article 3093.

Art. 3092. Form of petition for notice of application for appointment

A petition for notice under Article 3091 shall not be effective unless it is signed by the petitioner or his attorney, and sets forth: (1) the name, surname, and domicile of petitioner; (2) a statement of the interest of the petitioner; (3) the name, surname, and mailing address of the person to whom the requested notice shall be given; and (4) a prayer that the requested notice be given.

Art. 3093. Notice in compliance with petition

When notice has been petitioned for as provided in Article 3091, the applicant for appointment as administrator shall mail or deliver to the person designated to receive such notice a copy of his application for appointment, and shall notify him of the date and hour assigned by the court for a hearing thereon.

Art. 3094. Order on application for appointment

The court shall order the taking of an inventory, or the filing of a descriptive list as provided in Article 3136, of the property of the deceased upon the filing of an application for appointment as administrator.

If notice of the application for appointment is required under Articles 3091 through 3093, the court shall assign a date and hour for a hearing on the application, which shall be held not earlier than the eleventh day after the mailing or delivery of such notice.  If no such notice is required, and ten days have elapsed since the death of the deceased, the court may appoint the applicant as administrator forthwith, unless he is disqualified under Article 3097.

Art. 3095. Opposition to application for appointment

The opposition to an application for appointment as administrator shall be filed prior to the hearing on the application and shall be served on the applicant for appointment.  This opposition shall comply with Article 2972, and shall allege the prior right of opponent to the appointment, or the grounds on which it is claimed the applicant is disqualified.  If the opposition is based on a prior right to the appointment, the opponent shall pray that he be appointed administrator.

Art. 3097. Disqualifications

A.  No person may be confirmed as testamentary executor, or appointed dative testamentary executor, provisional administrator, or administrator who is:

(1)  Under eighteen years of age;

(2)  Interdicted, or who, on contradictory hearing, is proved to be mentally incompetent;

(3)  A convicted felon, under the laws of the United States or of any state or territory thereof;

(4)  A nonresident of the state who has not appointed a resident agent for the service of process in all actions and proceedings with respect to the succession, and caused such appointment to be filed in the succession proceeding;

(5)  A corporation not authorized to perform the duties of the office in this state; or

(6)  A person who, on contradictory hearing, is proved to be unfit for appointment because of bad moral character.

B.  No person may be appointed dative testamentary executor, provisional administrator, or administrator who is not the surviving spouse, heir, legatee, legal representative of an heir or legatee, or a creditor of the deceased or a creditor of the estate of the deceased, or the nominee of the surviving spouse, heir, legatee, or legal representative of an heir or legatee of the deceased, or a co-owner of immovable property with the deceased.

Amended by Acts 1964, No. 4, §1; Acts 1972, No. 347, §1; Acts 1985, No. 528, §1, eff. July 12, 1985.

Art. 3098. Priority of appointment

A.  When the appointment as administrator or dative testamentary executor is claimed by more than one qualified person, except as otherwise provided by law, preference in the appointment shall be given by the court in the following order to:

(1)  The best qualified among the surviving spouse, competent heirs or legatees, or the legal representatives of any incompetent heirs or legatees of the deceased.

(2)  The best qualified of the nominees of the surviving spouse, of the competent heirs or legatees, or of the legal representatives of any incompetent heirs or legatees of the deceased.

(3)  The best qualified of the creditors of the deceased or a creditor of the estate of the deceased, or a co-owner of immovable property with the deceased.

B.  "Best qualified", as used in this Article, means the claimant best qualified personally, and by training and experience, to administer the succession.

Acts 1992, No. 778, §1; Acts 1993, No. 29, §1.

Section 3. Provisional Administrators

Art. 3111. Appointment

The court may appoint a provisional administrator of a succession, pending the appointment of an administrator or the confirmation of an executor, when it deems such appointment necessary to preserve, safeguard, and operate the property of the succession.  On the application of an interested party, or on its own motion, when such an appointment is deemed necessary, the court may appoint a qualified person as provisional administrator forthwith.

 

Art. 3112. Security;  oath;  tenure;  rights and duties

A provisional administrator shall furnish security and take the oath of office required by Articles 3152 and 3158, respectively.  He shall continue in office until an administrator or executor has been qualified, or until the heirs or legatees have been sent into possession.

Except as otherwise provided by law, a provisional administrator has all of the authority and rights of an administrator, and is subject to the same duties and obligations, in the discharge of his functions of preserving, safeguarding, and operating the property and business of the succession.

Art. 3113. Inventory taken or descriptive list filed when appointment made

When the court appoints a provisional administrator, it shall order the taking of an inventory of the property of the succession as provided in Article 3131 or the filing of a descriptive list of the succession property as provided in Article 3136, unless either has been ordered taken before.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 665, §1.

Section 4. Administrators of Vacant Successions

Art. 3121. Attorney appointed as administrator of vacant successions;  exceptions

When no qualified person has petitioned for appointment as administrator of a vacant succession within three months of the death of the deceased, the court may appoint an attorney at law as administrator thereof and set his compensation.  Said attorney shall be selected, on a rotating basis, from a list of attorneys currently practicing in the parish in which the succession is to be opened.

The attorney shall be required to furnish security as required by law.  Otherwise, all of the provisions of law relating to the administrator of a succession apply to the attorney when appointed administrator of a vacant succession.

This article does not apply to any parish for which a public administrator has been appointed.

Amended by Acts 1961, No. 23, §1; Acts 1974, No. 530, §1.

Art. 3122. Public administrator as administrator of vacant successions in certain parishes

In parishes for which a public administrator has been appointed, he shall be appointed administrator of all successions of which, under Article 3121, an attorney at law in other parishes may be appointed administrator.

All provisions of law relating to the administrator of a succession apply to the public administrator, except as otherwise provided by R.S. 9:1581 through 9:1589.

Amended by Acts 1961, No. 23, §1; Acts 1974, No. 530, §1.

Section 5. Inventory of Succession Property

Art. 3131. Notary appointed for inventory in each parish

When the court orders the taking of an inventory of the property of the succession, it shall appoint a notary of each parish in which the deceased left property to take the inventory of such property in that parish.

Art. 3132. Public inventory

The public inventory of the property of a deceased person, or of other estates under the administration of the court, shall be taken by a notary appointed by the court, in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, assisted by two competent appraisers appointed and sworn by the notary.  The witnesses and appraisers need not be residents of the parish where the inventory is taken.

The taking of the inventory may be attended by any person interested in the estate to be administered, or by his attorney; and when timely requested to do so, the notary shall give such person, or his attorney, notice by ordinary mail of the time and place thereof.

Art. 3133. Procès verbal of inventory

The public inventory shall be evidenced by the notary's proces verbal of the proceedings, subscribed by him, and signed by the appraisers, witnesses, and other persons who have attended.  This proces verbal shall contain:

(1)  The names, surnames, domiciles, and qualities of the notary taking the inventory, of the witnesses thereto, of the appraisers who have valued the property, and of any other interested persons who have attended;

(2)  The dates when and places where the inventory was taken;

(3)  A description of the manner in which the inventory was taken;

(4)  An adequate description of each item of property belonging to the estate and found in the parish where the inventory was taken, and the fair market value thereof estimated by the appraisers;

(5)  An adequate description of all of the titles, account books, and written evidences of indebtedness due the estate, found during the taking of the inventory, and the amounts of the indebtedness, and the name, surname, and address of each debtor, as shown therein;

(6)  An adequate description of any property owned in whole or in part by third persons, or claimed by third persons as having been left on loan, deposit, consignment, or otherwise; and

(7)  A recapitulation of the aggregate value of all movable property, the aggregate value of all immovable property, and the total value of all property owned by the estate.

Art. 3134. Return of procès verbal of inventory

The notary who took the inventory, or the party at whose instance it was taken, shall make duplicate copies of the proces verbal, the original proces verbal shall be returned into the court which ordered it taken, immediately upon its completion and signing.  The duplicate copy shall be certified and filed with the collector of revenue.  A certified copy of the proces verbal of any inventory taken in Orleans Parish may be returned in the same manner, and with the same effect as the original.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 326, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1973.

Art. 3135. Procès verbal of inventory prima facie proof;  traverse

The proces verbal of a public inventory returned into court as provided in Article 3134 shall be accepted as prima facie proof of all matters shown therein, without homologation by the court.

An interested person at any time may traverse the proces verbal of a public inventory by contradictory motion served upon the notary and the person at whose instance the inventory was made.

If a descriptive list is amended or successfully traversed a copy of the amended or traversed proces verbal shall be filed with the Collector of Revenue.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 326, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1973.

Art. 3136. Descriptive list of property in lieu of inventory

Whenever an inventory of succession property otherwise would be required by law, the person at whose instance the inventory would be taken may file with the Department of Revenue and in the succession proceeding, in lieu of an inventory complying with articles 3131 through 3135, a detailed, descriptive list of all succession property.  This list shall be sworn to and subscribed by the person filing it, shall show the location of all items of succession property, and shall set forth the fair market value of each item thereof at the date of the death of the deceased.

The privilege of filing a descriptive list of succession property, in lieu of an inventory thereof, may be exercised without judicial authority.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 326, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1973.

 

Art. 3137. Descriptive list prima facie correct;  amendment or traverse;  reduction or increase of security

The descriptive list of succession property authorized by Article 3136 shall be accepted as prima facie proof of all matters shown therein, unless amended or traversed successfully.

The court may amend the descriptive list at any time to correct errors therein, on ex parte motion of the person filing it.  Any interested person may traverse the descriptive list at any time, on contradictory motion served on the person filing it.  If a descriptive list is amended, or successfully traversed a copy of the amended or traversed descriptive list shall be filed with the Department of Revenue.  The court may order the reduction or increase of the security required of a succession representative to conform to the corrected total value of the property of the succession.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 326, §2, eff. Jan. 1, 1973.

Section 6. Security, Oath, and Letters of Succession Representative

Art. 3151. Security of administrator

Except as otherwise provided by law, the person appointed administrator shall furnish security for the faithful performance of his duties in an amount exceeding by one-fourth the total value of all property of the succession as shown by the inventory or descriptive list.

The court may reduce the amount of this security, on proper showing, whenever it is proved that the security required is substantially in excess of that needed for the protection of the heirs and creditors.

Art. 3152. Security of provisional administrator

The person appointed provisional administrator shall furnish security for the faithful performance of his duties in an amount determined by the court as being adequate for the protection of the heirs, legatees, surviving spouse in community, and creditors of the succession.

Art. 3153. Security of testamentary executor

The person appointed dative testamentary executor shall furnish the same security as is required of the administrator under Article 3151.

The person named by the testator as executor is not required to furnish security, except when required by the testament or as provided in Articles 3154 through 3155.

Art. 3154. Forced heirs and surviving spouse in community may compel executor to furnish security

Forced heirs and the surviving spouse in community of the testator may compel the executor to furnish security by an ex parte verified petition therefor.  If the court finds that the petitioner is a forced heir, or the surviving spouse in community, it shall order the executor to furnish security, within ten days of the service of the order, in an amount determined by the court as adequate to protect the interest of the petitioner.

Art. 3155. Creditor may compel executor to furnish security

A person having a pecuniary claim against a testate succession, whether liquidated or not, or claiming the ownership of specific items of property in the possession of the succession, may compel the executor to furnish security in an amount exceeding by one-fourth the amount of the claim, or the value of the property as shown on the inventory or the descriptive list.  His verified petition for security may be presented ex parte to the court, which shall order the executor to furnish such security within ten days of the service of the order upon him.

Art. 3156. Maximum security of executor

The executor cannot be compelled to furnish security, under the provisions of Articles 3153 through 3155, in an amount in excess of the maximum security required of the administrator under Article 3151.

Art. 3157. Special mortgage in lieu of bond

The person appointed or confirmed as succession representative may give a special mortgage on unencumbered immovable property within the parish where the succession has been opened, in lieu of the security required by Articles 3151 through 3155.  The mortgage shall be for the same amount as the security required, and shall be approved by the court before letters may be issued to him.

Art. 3158. Oath of succession representative

Before the person appointed or confirmed as succession representative enters upon the performance of his official duties, he must take an oath to discharge faithfully the duties of his office.

Art. 3159. Issuance of letters to succession representative

After the person appointed or confirmed as succession representative has qualified by furnishing the security required of him by law, and by taking his oath of office, the clerk shall issue to him letters of administration or letters testamentary, as the case may be.

These letters, issued in the name and under the seal of the court, evidence the confirmation or appointment of the succession representative, his qualification, and his compliance with all requirements of law relating thereto.

Chapter 2. Attorney for Absent Heirs and Legatees

Art. 3171. Appointment

If it appears from the record, or is otherwise proved by an interested party, that an heir of an intestate, or a legatee or presumptive legal heir of a deceased testator, is an absentee, and there is a necessity for such appointment, the court shall appoint an attorney at law to represent the absent heir or legatee.

Art. 3172. Duties

The attorney at law appointed to represent an absent heir or legatee shall:

(1)  Make all necessary efforts to determine the identity and address of the absent heir or legatee, and to inform him of the death of the deceased and of his interest in the succession;

(2)  Represent the absent heir or legatee in the succession, and defend his interests in all contradictory proceedings brought against him therein; and

(3)  Take any conservatory action necessary to protect the interests of the absent heir or legatee, including the filing of all necessary suits.

Art. 3173. Removal;  appointment of successor

The attorney at law appointed to represent an absent heir or legatee may be relieved by the court of his trust for any lawful reason, shall be removed by the court for nonperformance of duty, and his office shall terminate when the absent heir or legatee by proper pleading advises the court of his appointment of an attorney in fact, or of the selection of his own counsel.

If the attorney appointed to represent an absent heir or legatee, as provided in Article 3171, is removed, resigns, or dies, the court may appoint another attorney at law to succeed him.

Art. 3174. Compensation

The court may allow the attorney at law appointed to represent an absent heir or legatee, upon the completion of his duties, reasonable compensation for the services rendered, payable out of the share of the absent heir or legatee in the succession.

If the person whom the attorney has been appointed to represent is not entitled to any share in the succession, or such share is insufficient to compensate him adequately for his services, his reasonable compensation shall be taxed as costs of court against the mass of the succession.

Such compensation may be determined judicially by contradictory motion against the absent heir or legatee, if he has appeared through counsel or an attorney in fact, or otherwise against the succession representative.

Chapter 3. Revocation of Appointment, and Removal of Succession Representative

Art. 3181. Revocation of appointment or confirmation;  extension of time to qualify

If a person appointed or confirmed as succession representative fails to qualify for the office within ten days after his appointment or confirmation, on its own motion or on motion of any interested person, the court may revoke the appointment or confirmation, and appoint another qualified person to the office forthwith.

The delay allowed herein for qualification may be extended by the court for good cause shown.

Art. 3182. Removal

The court may remove any succession representative who is or has become disqualified, has become incapable of discharging the duties of his office, has mismanaged the estate, has failed to perform any duty imposed by law or by order of court, has ceased to be a domiciliary of the state without appointing an agent as provided in Article 3097(4), or has failed to give notice of his application for appointment when required under Article 3093.

The court on its own motion may, and on motion of any interested party shall, order the succession representative sought to be removed to show cause why he should not be removed from office.  The removal of a succession representative from office does not invalidate any of his official acts performed prior to his removal.

Chapter 4. General Functions, Powers, and Duties of Succession Representative

Section 1. General Dispositions

Art. 3191. General duties;  appointment of agent

A.  A succession representative is a fiduciary with respect to the succession, and shall have the duty of collecting, preserving, and managing the property of the succession in accordance with law. He shall act at all times as a prudent administrator, and shall be personally responsible for all damages resulting from his failure so to act.

B.  A nonresident succession representative may execute a power of attorney appointing a resident of the state to represent him in all acts of his administration. A resident succession representative who will be absent from the state temporarily similarly may appoint an agent to act for him during his absence. In either case, the power of attorney appointing the agent shall be filed in the record of the succession proceeding.

C.  Subject to any restrictions provided in a valid testament of a decedent or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, a succession representative shall have the power and authority to take control of, handle, conduct, continue, distribute, or terminate any digital account of the decedent.

D.(1)  Except as provided in Subparagraph (2) of this Paragraph and to the extent permitted by federal law, any person that electronically stores, maintains, manages, controls, operates, or administers the digital accounts of a decedent shall transfer, deliver, or provide a succession representative access or possession of any digital account of a decedent within thirty days after receipt of letters testamentary, letters of administration, or letters of independent administration evidencing the appointment of the succession representative.

(2)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, R.S. 6:325 or 767 shall control how federally insured financial institutions provide Internet or other electronic access to an authorized succession representative for the administration of a decedent's estate.

E.  This Article supersedes any contrary provision in the terms and conditions of any service agreement and a succession representative shall be considered an authorized user with lawful consent of the decedent for purposes of accessing or possessing the decedent's digital accounts.

F.  The authority provided in this Article shall be specifically subject to copyright law and shall not increase the scope of the license granted in the terms of service of any digital account. The agent, representative or fiduciary shall be personally responsible for any infringement of third party copyrights that occurs in the transfer or distribution of any digital account or its contents.

G.  No cause of action shall lie in any court under the law of this state against any provider of digital account service, including its officers, directors, employees, agents, members, or other specified persons, for any actions taken to disclose or otherwise provide access to the contents of a digital account pursuant to this Article.

H.  For purposes of this Article, the term "digital account" shall include any account of the decedent on any social networking Internet website, web log Internet website, microblog service Internet website, short message service Internet website, electronic mail service Internet website, financial account Internet website, or any similar electronic services or records, together with any words, characters, codes, or contractual rights necessary to access such digital assets and any text, images, multimedia information, or other personal property stored by or through such digital account.

Amended by Acts 1964, No. 4, §1; Acts 2014, No. 758, §1.

Art. 3192. Duties and powers of multiple representatives

If there are several succession representatives, all action by them shall be taken jointly, unless:

(1)  The testator has provided otherwise; or

(2)  The representatives have filed in the record a written authorization to a single representative to act for all.

Art. 3193. Powers of surviving representatives

Every power exercised by joint succession representatives may be exercised by the survivor of them in case of the death or termination of appointment of one or more of them, unless the testator has provided otherwise.

Art. 3194. Contracts between succession representative and succession prohibited;  penalties for failure to comply

A succession representative cannot in his personal capacity or as representative of any other person make any contracts with the succession of which he is a representative.  He cannot acquire any property of the succession, or interest therein, personally or by means of third persons, except as provided in Article 3195.

All contracts prohibited by this article are voidable and the succession representative shall be liable to the succession for all damages resulting therefrom.

Art. 3195. Contracts between succession representative and succession;  exceptions

The provisions of Article 3194 shall not apply when a testament provides otherwise or to a succession representative who is:

(1)  The surviving spouse of the deceased;

(2)  A partner of the deceased, with respect to the assets and business of the partnership;

(3)  A co-owner with the deceased, with respect to the property owned in common;

(4)  An heir or legatee of the deceased; or

(5)  A mortgage creditor or holder of a vendor's privilege, with respect to property subject to the mortgage or privilege.

Amended by Acts 1961, No. 23, §1.

Art. 3196. Procedural rights of succession representative

In the performance of his duties, a succession representative may exercise all procedural rights available to a litigant.

Art. 3197. Duty to close succession

It shall be the duty of a succession representative to close the succession as soon as advisable.

Art. 3198. Compromise and modification of obligations

A succession representative may:

(1)  Effect a compromise of an action or right of action by or against the succession; or

(2)  Extend, renew, or in any manner modify the terms of any obligation owed by or to the succession.

Any action taken under this article must be approved by the court after notice as provided by Article 3229.

Section 2. Collection of Succession Property

Art. 3211. Duty to take possession;  enforcement of claims and obligations

A succession representative shall be deemed to have possession of all property of the succession and shall enforce all obligations in its favor.

Section 3. Preservation and Management of Succession Property

Art. 3221. Preservation of succession property

A succession representative shall preserve, repair, maintain, and protect the property of the succession.

Art. 3222. Deposit of succession funds;  unauthorized withdrawals prohibited;  penalty

A succession representative shall deposit all moneys collected by him as soon as received, in a bank account in his official capacity, in a state or national bank in this state, and shall not withdraw the deposits or any part thereof, except in accordance with law.

On failure to comply with the provisions of this article, the court may render a judgment against the succession representative and his surety in solido to the extent of twenty percent interest per annum on the amount not deposited or withdrawn without authority, such sum to be paid to the succession.  He may also be adjudged liable for all special damage suffered, and may be dismissed from office.

Art. 3223. Investment of succession funds

When it appears to the best interest of the succession, and subject to the representative's primary duty to preserve the estate for prompt distribution and to the terms of the testament, if any, the court may authorize a succession representative to invest the funds of the succession and make them productive.

Unless the testator has provided otherwise, such investments shall be restricted to the kinds of investments permitted to trustees by the laws of this state.

Art. 3224. Continuation of business

When it appears to the best interest of the succession, and after compliance with Article 3229, the court may authorize a succession representative to continue any business of the deceased for the benefit of the succession; but if the deceased died testate and his succession is solvent, the order of court shall be subject to the provisions of the testament.  This order may contain such conditions, restrictions, regulations, and requirements as the court may direct.

Art. 3224.1. Continuation of corporation or partnership in which decedent held a majority interest

A.  The succession representative of an estate owning a majority interest in a corporation or partnership shall provide notice as provided in Articles 3272 and 3282 prior to alienating, encumbering, or disposing of any real property of a corporation or partnership in which the decedent held a majority interest at the time of his death.  The notification required herein shall be by certified mail to the last known address of the heirs or legatees.  The heirs and legatees may waive this notification.

B.  Upon motion by an heir or legatee, and contradictory hearing thereon, the court may require that a succession representative of an estate owning a majority interest in a corporation or partnership seek court approval prior to alienating, encumbering, or disposing of any or all of the real property belonging to the corporation or partnership.

Acts 1992, No. 999, §1.

Art. 3225. Continuation of business;  interim order unappealable

When an application to continue business has been filed, the court may issue an interim ex parte order to the succession representative to continue the business immediately until such time as the procedure provided for by Article 3229 may be complied with.  The order granted herein shall expire at the end of forty-five days unless extended by the court.

No appeal shall lie from the granting or denial of the interim order.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 666, §1.

Art. 3226. Lease of succession property

When it appears to the best interest of the succession, the court may authorize a succession representative to grant a lease upon succession property after compliance with Article 3229.  No lease may be granted for more than one year, except with the consent of the heirs and interested legatees.

The court may also authorize the granting of mineral leases on succession property after compliance with Article 3229.  The leases may be for a period greater than one year as may appear reasonable to the court.  A copy of the proposed lease contract shall be attached to the application for the granting of a mineral lease, and the court may require alterations as it deems proper.

The order of the court shall state the minimum bonus, if any, to be received by the executor or administrator of the estate under the lease and the minimum royalty to be reserved to the estate, which in no event shall be less than one-eighth royalty on the oil and such other terms as the court may embody in its order.

Amended by Acts 1974, No. 131, §1.

Art. 3227. Execution of contracts

If a person dies before performing an executory contract evidenced by writing, the court may authorize the succession representative to perform the contract, after compliance with Article 3229.

Art. 3228. Loans to succession representative for specific purposes;  authority to encumber succession property as security therefor

When it appears to the best interest of the succession, and after compliance with Article 3229, the court may authorize a succession representative to borrow money for the purposes of preserving the property or the orderly administration of the estate, of paying estate debts, and for expenditures in the regular course of business conducted in accordance with Article 3224.  As security for the loans the court may authorize the succession representative to encumber succession property upon the terms and conditions as it may direct.

Acts 1995, No. 203, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 2010, No. 175, §1.

Art. 3229. Notice by publication of application for court order;  opposition

A.  When an application is made for an order under Articles 3198, and 3224 through 3228, notice of the application shall be published once in the parish where the succession proceeding is pending in the manner provided by law.  When an application is made for an order under Article 3226 to grant a mineral lease, the notice shall also be published in the parish or parishes in which the affected property is located.

B.  A court order shall not be required for the publication of the notice.  The notice shall state that the order may be issued after the expiration of seven days from the date of publication and that an opposition may be filed at any time prior to the issuance of the order.  If no opposition is filed, the court may grant the authority requested at any time after the expiration of the seven days from the date of publication.

C.  An opposition shall be tried as a summary proceeding.

Amended by Acts 1974, No. 131, §2; Acts 1981, No. 317, §1; Acts 1987, No. 269, §1.

Chapter 5. Enforcement of Claims Against Successions

Art. 3241. Presenting claim against succession

A creditor of a succession under administration may submit his claim to the succession representative for acknowledgment and payment in due course of administration.

Except for the purposes of Article 3245, no particular form is required for the submission of a claim by a creditor of the succession other than that it be in writing.

Art. 3242. Acknowledgment or rejection of claim by representative

The succession representative to whom a claim against the succession has been submitted, within thirty days thereof, shall either acknowledge or reject the claim, in whole or in part.  This acknowledgment or express rejection shall be in writing, dated, and signed by the succession representative, who shall notify the claimant of his action.  Failure of the succession representative either to acknowledge or reject a claim within thirty days of the date it was submitted to him shall be considered a rejection thereof.

Art. 3243. Effect of acknowledgment of claim by representative

The acknowledgment of a claim by the succession representative, as provided in Article 3242, shall:

(1)  Entitle the creditor to have his claim included in the succession representative's petition for authority to pay debts, or in his tableau of distribution, for payment in due course of administration;

(2)  Create a prima facie presumption of the validity of the claim, even if it is not included in the succession representative's petition for authority to pay debts, or in his tableau of distribution; and

(3)  Suspend the running of prescription against the claim as long as the succession is under administration.

Art. 3244. Effect of inclusion of claim in petition or in tableau of distribution

The inclusion of the claim of a creditor of the succession in the succession representative's petition for authority to pay debts or in his tableau of distribution creates a prima facie presumption of the validity of the claim; and the burden of proving the invalidity thereof shall be upon the person opposing it.

Art. 3245. Submission of formal proof of claim to suspend prescription

A.  A creditor may suspend the running of prescription against his claim for up to ten years:

(1)  By delivering personally or by certified or registered mail to the succession representative, or his attorney of record, a formal written proof of the claim.

(2)  By filing a formal written proof of the claim in the record of the succession proceeding, if the succession has been opened and no person has been appointed or confirmed as succession representative and no judgment of possession has been signed.

(3)  By filing a formal written proof of the claim in the mortgage records of the appropriate parish as provided in Article 2811, in the absence of a proceeding to open the succession.

B.  Such proof of claim shall be sworn to by the claimant and shall set forth:

(1)  The name and address of the creditor;

(2)  The amount of the claim, and a short statement of facts on which it is based; and

(3)  If the claim is secured, a description of the security and of any property affected thereby.

C.  If the claim is based on a written instrument, a copy thereof with all endorsements must be attached to the proof of the claim.  The original instrument must be exhibited to the succession representative on demand, unless it is lost or destroyed, in which case its loss or destruction must be stated in the claim.

D.  The submission of this formal proof of claim, even though it be rejected subsequently by the succession representative, shall suspend the running of prescription against the claim as long as the succession is under administration or, if the succession has been opened and no person has been appointed or confirmed as succession representative and no judgment of possession has been signed, submission of the formal proof of claim shall suspend the running of prescription against the claim as long as no judgment of possession has been signed.  In the absence of a proceeding to open the succession, submission of the formal proof of claim shall suspend the running of prescription against the claim for five years, commencing from the date of submission of the proof of claim.

Acts 1987, No. 693, §1; Acts 1993, No. 481, §1.

Art. 3246. Rejection of claim;  prerequisite to judicial enforcement

A creditor of a succession may not sue a succession representative to enforce a claim against the succession until the succession representative has rejected the claim.

If the claim is rejected in whole or in part by the succession representative, the creditor to the extent of the rejection may enforce his claim judicially.

Art. 3247. Execution against succession property prohibited

Execution shall not issue against any property of a succession under administration to enforce a judgment against the succession representative, or one rendered against the deceased prior to his death.

Art. 3248. Enforcement of conventional mortgage or pledge

The provisions of Articles 3246 and 3247 shall not prevent the enforcement of a conventional mortgage on or a pledge of movable or immovable property of the succession in a separate proceeding.

Art. 3249. Succession representative as party defendant

The succession representative shall defend all actions brought against him to enforce claims against the succession, and in doing so may exercise all procedural rights available to a litigant.

Chapter 6. Alienation of Succession Property

Section 1. General Dispositions

Art. 3261. Purpose of sale

A succession representative may sell succession property in order to pay debts and legacies, or for any other purpose, when authorized by the court as provided in this Chapter.

Art. 3262. No priority as between movables and immovables

There shall be no priority in the order of sale as between movable and immovable property.

Art. 3263. Terms of sale

Sales of succession property shall be for cash, unless upon the petition of the succession representative the court authorizes a credit sale.  When a credit sale is authorized, the order shall specify the terms of the sale and the security.

Art. 3264. Perishable property;  crops

Upon the petition of the succession representative as provided in Articles 3263 and 3271, the court may order the immediate sale of perishable property and growing crops either at public auction or private sale, without appraisal, and without advertisement, or with such advertisement as the court may direct.

Art. 3265. Prima facie proof of publication

 When a publication of notice is required by this Title, prima facie proof may be made either by an affidavit of publication by the official journal or newspaper which published the notice, reciting the date or dates of publication and the text of the notice, or by the original newspaper tear sheet showing both the text of the notice and its date of publication, accompanied by an affidavit by the moving party or the party's attorney, attesting to the publication and its date or dates.

Acts 1993, No. 26, §1, eff. May 18, 1993.

Art. 3266. Issuance of certificates of no opposition

When no opposition has been filed to an application by a succession representative for an order or judgment of the court, pursuant to an Article of this Title, the clerk of court shall issue a certificate that no opposition has been filed.  No further proof shall be required.

Acts 1993, No. 27, §1, eff. May 18, 1993.

Section 2. Public Sale

Art. 3271. Petition;  order

A succession representative desiring to sell succession property at public auction shall file a petition setting forth a description of the property and the reasons for the sale.

The court shall render an order authorizing the sale at public auction after publication, when it considers the sale to be to the best interests of the succession.

Art. 3272. Publication of notice of sale;  place of sale

Notice of the sale shall be published at least once for movable property, and at least twice for immovable property, in the manner provided by law.  The court may order additional publications.

The notice of sale shall be published in the parish where the succession proceeding is pending.  When immovable property situated in another parish is to be sold, the notice shall also be published in the parish where the property is situated.  When movable property situated in another parish is to be sold, the court may require the notice to be published also in the parish where the property is situated.

The sale shall be conducted in the parish where the succession proceeding is pending, unless the court orders that the sale be conducted in the parish where the property is situated.

Art. 3273. Minimum price;  second offering

The property shall not be sold if the price bid by the last and highest bidder is less than two-thirds of the appraised value in the inventory.  In that event, on the petition of the succession representative, the court shall order a readvertisement in the same manner as for an original sale, and the same delay must elapse.  At the second offering the property shall be sold to the last and highest bidder regardless of the price.

Section 3. Private Sale

Art. 3281. Petition for private sale

A.  A succession representative who desires to sell succession property at private sale shall file a petition setting forth a description of the property, the price and conditions of and the reasons for the proposed sale.  If an agreement to sell has been executed in accordance with Paragraph B of this Article, a copy of such agreement shall be annexed to the petition.

B.  A succession representative may execute, without prior court authority, an agreement to sell succession property at private sale, subject to the suspensive condition that the court approve the proposed sale.

C.  The succession representative shall be obligated to file a petition in accordance with Paragraph A of this Article within thirty (30) days of the date of execution of such an agreement to sell.

Amended by Acts 1980, No. 369, §1.

Art. 3282. Publication

Notice of the application for authority to sell succession property at private sale shall be published at least once for movable property, and at least twice for immovable property, in the manner provided by law.  A court order shall not be required for the publication of the notice.

The notice shall be published in the parish in which the succession proceeding is pending.  When immovable property situated in another parish is to be sold, the notice shall also be published in the parish in which the property is situated.  When movable property situated in another parish is to be sold, the notice may be published also in the parish in which the property is situated, without necessity of a court order for the publication; however, the court may order the notice to be published in the parish where the movable property is situated.

The notice shall state that any opposition to the proposed sale must be filed within seven days from the date of the last publication.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 626, §1; Acts 1976, No. 364, §1.

Art. 3283. Who may file opposition

An opposition to a proposed private sale of succession property may be filed only by an heir, legatee, or creditor.

Art. 3284. Order;  hearing

A.  If no opposition has been filed timely and the court considers the sale to be to the best interests of the succession, the court shall render an order authorizing the sale and shall fix the minimum price to be accepted.  The price may be fixed exactly as the appraised value, as a fraction of the appraised value, as more than the appraised value, or as not less than the appraised value of the property.  If an agreement to sell has been executed as provided in Article 3281 and the price and conditions fixed by the court are the price and conditions set in the agreement, the order of court authorizing the sale under such agreement shall fulfill the suspensive condition of the agreement, which thereafter shall be enforceable by the parties to the agreement.

B.  Nothing contained in this Article shall affect the general duties of a succession representative.

C.  An opposition shall be tried as a summary proceeding.

D.  This Article is remedial and shall be retroactive to January 1, 1961.  All sales of succession property on and after January 1, 1961, made in compliance with the provisions of this Article are hereby validated.

Amended by Acts 1968, No. 203, §§1, 2; Acts 1980, No. 369, §1.

Art. 3285. Bonds and stocks

A succession representative may sell bonds and shares of stock at private sale at rates prevailing in the open market, by obtaining a court order authorizing the sale.  No advertisement is necessary, and the order authorizing the sale may be rendered upon the filing of the petition.

The endorsement of the succession representative and a certified copy of the court order authorizing the sale shall be sufficient warrant for the transfer.

Art. 3286. Court may authorize listing

A succession representative who desires to list succession property for sale shall file a petition to which shall be annexed the proposed listing agreement, which shall contain a provision that any offer to purchase submitted under such agreement to the succession representative shall be subject to the suspensive condition that the court approve the proposed sale.  The court shall render an order, ex parte, authorizing the execution of the listing agreement by the succession representative when it considers such agreement to be in the best interests of the succession.

Added by Acts 1980, No. 369, §2.

Art. 3287. Household goods

A succession representative may sell household goods at prices not less than the appraised value of such goods in the succession inventory or descriptive list by obtaining an order authorizing sales, from time to time, for such prices as the succession representative shall determine.  No advertisement shall be necessary, and the order authorizing such sales may be rendered upon the filing of the petition.  Household goods shall include furniture, furnishings, appliances, linen, and clothing.  If the succession representative desires to sell household goods for less than the appraised value, advertisement shall be required.

Acts 1985, No. 724, §1.

Art. 3288. Motor vehicles;  sale at appraised value

A.  A succession representative may sell motor vehicles at prices not less than the appraised value of such motor vehicles in the succession inventory or descriptive list by obtaining an order authorizing sales, from time to time, for such prices as the succession representative shall determine.  No advertisement shall be necessary, and the order authorizing such sales may be rendered upon the filing of the petition.  If the succession representative desires to sell motor vehicles for less than the appraised value, advertisement shall be required.

B.  For purposes of this Article, "motor vehicles" shall include automobiles, two-axle trucks, and motorcycles.

Acts 1986, No. 237, §1.

Section 4. Exchange of Succession Property

Art. 3291. Court may authorize exchange

The court may authorize an exchange of succession property, on the petition of the succession representative, for a consideration to be paid in corporate stock or other property, or partly therein and partly in cash, if advantageous to the heirs and legatees and not prejudicial of the rights of the succession creditors.

Amended by Acts 1962, No. 92, §3.

Art. 3292. Petition for authority to exchange

The petition of the succession representative for authority to exchange succession property for other property, or for other property and cash, shall set forth a description of both properties, the petitioner's opinion of the values thereof, the conditions of the exchange, and the reasons why such an exchange would be advantageous to the heirs and legatees, and would not prejudice the rights of succession creditors.

Added by Acts 1962, No. 92, §3.

Art. 3293. Copy of petition for authority to be served on heirs and legatees;  exception

A certified copy of the succession representative's petition for authority to exchange succession property shall be served, as provided in Article 1314, on all heirs and legatees of the deceased who have not joined in this petition.  The petition need not be served on a legatee who has received all of his legacies as provided in the testament.

Added by Acts 1962, No. 92, §3; Amended by Acts 1988, No. 578, §1.

Art. 3294. Publication of notice;  opposition;  hearing;  order

The provisions of Articles 3282 through 3284 shall apply to the publication of notice of the application for authority to exchange succession property, opposition thereto, and the hearing and order thereon.

Added by Acts 1962, No. 92, §3.

Section 5. Giving in Payment;  Procedure

Art. 3295. Giving in payment of succession property

The executor or administrator may transfer by a giving in payment any succession property in satisfaction of secured or unsecured debts.  The property may be taken in indivision by the secured or unsecured creditors, or both.

Acts 1988, No. 564, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §7, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 2003, No. 545, §1.

Art. 3296. Petition

A.  To this end, he shall present to the judge a petition setting forth the nature of the property, the amount of the encumbrances if any, and the reasons why he deems it in the best interest of the succession to convey the property in satisfaction of the debt or debts.  

B.  A copy of the petition shall be served by the executor or administrator on each creditor of the succession who has requested notification, together with a notice requiring that any opposition to the granting of the application be filed within seven days from date of service.  Service of the petition as set forth herein may be made by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.  

Acts 1988, No. 564, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §7, eff. July 1, 1999.  

Art. 3297. Publication

Notice of the application shall be published in the manner prescribed for judicial advertisements, requiring all whom it may concern, including the heirs, to make opposition, if they have any, to the granting of the application, within seven days from the day whereon the last publication appears.  

Amended by Acts 1981, No. 314, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §7, eff. July 1, l999.  

Art. 3298. Hearing;  order

If no opposition should be made within the time, the judge may grant to the administrator or executor the authority applied for, after the debt is proven, but if opposition should be made, he shall hear the matter and determine thereon in a summary manner.  

Acts 1988, No. 564, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §7, eff. July 1, 1999.  

Chapter 7. Payment of Estate Debts

Art. 3301. Payment of estate debts;  court order

A succession representative may pay an estate debt only with the authorization of the court, except as provided by Articles 3224 and 3302.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3302. Time of payment of estate debts;  urgent estate debts

A.  Upon the expiration of three months from the death of the decedent, the succession representative shall proceed to pay the estate debts as provided in this Chapter.

B.  At any time and without publication the court may authorize the payment of estate debts the payment of which should not be delayed.

Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3303. Petition for authority;  tableau of distribution

A.  When a succession representative desires to pay estate debts, he shall file a petition for authority and shall include in or annex to the petition a tableau of distribution listing those estate debts to be paid.  A court order shall not be required for the publication of the notice of filing of a tableau of distribution.

B.  If the funds in his hands are insufficient to pay all the estate debts in full, the tableau of distribution shall show the total funds available and shall list the proposed payments according to the rank of the privileges and mortgages of the creditors.

Acts 1986, No. 204, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3304. Notice of filing of petition;  publication

Notice of the filing of a petition for authority to pay an estate debt shall be published once in the parish where the succession proceeding is pending in the manner provided by law.  The notice shall state that the petition can be homologated after the expiration of seven days from the date of publication and that any opposition to the petition must be filed prior to homologation.

Amended by Acts 1980, No. 280, §1; Acts 1989, No. 116, §1; Acts 1990, No. 65, §1, eff. June 27, 1990; Acts 1997, No. 1421, §3, eff. July 1, 1999.

Art. 3305. Petition for notice of filing of tableau of distribution

An interested person may petition the court for notice of the filing of a tableau of distribution.

The petition for such notice shall be signed by the petitioner or by his attorney, and shall set forth: (1) the name, surname, and address of the petitioner; (2) a statement of the interest of petitioner; (3) the name, surname, and office address of the attorney at law licensed to practice law in this state to whom the notice prayed for shall be mailed; and (4) a prayer that petitioner be notified, through his attorney, of the filing of the tableau of distribution.

A copy of this petition shall be served upon the succession representative, as provided in Article 1314.

Art. 3306. Notice of filing of tableau of distribution;  effect of failure to serve

When notice has been requested in accordance with Article 3305, the succession representative, without the necessity for a court order thereon, shall send a notice of the filing of a tableau of distribution by mail to the attorney designated by the person praying for notice at the address designated.  Proof of mailing is sufficient; no proof of receipt is required.

If no notice of the filing of a tableau of distribution has been mailed when required under this article, a judgment homologating the tableau of distribution shall have no effect against the person praying for such notice.

Amended by Acts 1962, No. 92, §1.

Art. 3307. Homologation;  payment

A.  An opposition may be filed at any time before homologation, and shall be tried as a summary proceeding.  If no opposition has been filed, the succession representative may have the tableau of distribution homologated and the court may grant the authority requested at any time after the expiration of seven days from the date of publication or from the date the notice required by Article 3306 is mailed, whichever is later.

B.  If an opposition has been taken under advisement by the court after the trial thereof, notice of the signing of the judgment homologating the tableau of distribution, as originally submitted or as amended by the court, need be mailed by the clerk of court only to counsel for the opponent, or to the opponent if not represented by counsel.

C.  After the delay for a suspensive appeal from the judgment of homologation has elapsed, the succession representative shall pay the debts approved by the court.

Amended by Acts 1961, No. 23, §1; Acts 1980, No. 280, §1; Acts 1989, No. 116, §1; Acts 1990, No. 65, §1, eff. June 27, 1990.

Art. 3308. Appeal

Only a suspensive appeal as provided in Article 2123 shall be allowed from a judgment homologating a tableau of distribution.  The appeal bond shall comply with Article 2124.

The succession representative shall retain a sum sufficient to pay the amount in dispute on appeal until a definitive judgment is rendered.  He shall distribute the remainder among the creditors whose claims have been approved and are not in dispute on appeal.

Chapter 8. Interim Allowance to Heirs and Legatees

Art. 3321. Interim allowance for maintenance during administration

When a succession is sufficiently solvent, the surviving spouse, heirs, or legatees shall be entitled to a reasonable periodic allowance in money for their maintenance during the period of administration, if the court concludes that such an allowance is necessary, provided the sums so advanced to the spouse, heirs, or legatees are within the amount eventually due them.  Such payments shall be charged to the share of the person receiving them.

A surviving spouse, heir, or legatee may compel the payment of an allowance during the administration by contradictory motion against the succession representative.

Notice of the filing of a petition for authority to pay an allowance, or of a contradictory motion to compel the payment of an allowance, shall be published once in the manner provided by law.  The notice shall state that any opposition must be filed within ten days from the date of publication.

Chapter 9. Accounting by Succession Representative