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Small Succession Law Amended Effective January 1, 2010

LCCP art. 3421 raises the gross value limit of a small succession from $50,000 to $75,000. Of particular interest regarding the effective date of this increase in gross value is that it applies to all small successions opened on and after January 1, 2010, regardless of the date of death of the decedent.

Previously, the small succession procedure was not available to decedents owning immovable property. The Act changes this with the amendments to LCCP art. 3431 (A) and (D):

  1. An individual with an ownership interest in “small succession immovable property” will now be able to use the affidavit small succession procedure (but note that the decedent must die intestate for this article to apply);
  2. and New Paragraph D defines small succession immovable property generally as the last place of residence of the decedent or his spouse and also includes cemetery spaces.

Amended LCCP art. 3432 also simplifies the requirements for the execution of a small succession affidavit. Previously, the small succession affidavit had to be signed by all competent heirs and the surviving spouse, if any. Now, the small succession affidavit need only be signed by at least two persons, one of which must be the surviving spouse, if any, and the other(s) being a competent major heir of the deceased.LCCP art. 3432(A)(1)-(A)(10) contains an extensive list of information that must be included in the small succession affidavit.

LCCP art. 3434 no longer requires that the small succession affidavit be submitted to the Department of Revenue. The other amendment to this Article requires that the original affidavit and a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate must be recorded in the conveyance records of the parish where the small succession property is located. Under the amended Article, an action against third parties who acquire an interest in the small succession immovable property by a person who claims to be a successor of the decedent, but who was not recognized as such in the small succession affidavit, is subject to a two-year prescriptive period.

The Act repeals LCCP art. 3433, which required that the inheritance tax collector certify that no inheritance taxes are due upon review of the affidavit and endorse the multiples of the original affidavits to be returned to the heirs and surviving spouse.

Practitioners should welcome these new changes.