In Louisiana, we have a unique process for transferring ownership of property when someone has passed away. In other states, the process is called, "Probate." In our Civil Law society, we refer to this as, "Succession."
Anytime someone passes away in Louisiana with their name on something, like a car title, or a bank account, the succession paperwork must be done before the heirs can legally say they own that property. Most of the time, you would consult an attorney for this. But in some cases, a notary public can draft and execute an, "Affidavit of Small Succession," for you, saving you thousands of dollars and months of hassle.
For many years a, "Small Succession," was defined as one where the person who passed away either owned less than $75,000 worth of property or passed away more than 25 years earlier. But in 2017, the Louisiana Legislature revised La. CCP Art. 3421, to allow for small successions to be executed if the Decedent owned less than $125,000 or passed away more than 20 years earlier. This law went into effect on January 1, 2018.
This year, during the 2018 Regular Legislative Session, Senator Eddie J. Lambert has submitted House Bill No. 48 for consideration, which increases the dollar value limit for small successions to $250,000. Senator Lambert's bill would be valuable to both notaries and their clients alike, in that, if passed, notaries could have authority to assist even more people with our services, for less than it costs to hire an attorney. I personally have seen various persons come to me requesting small succession services, but end up having to turn them away because the Decedent's property was valued just barely over the previous limits. Those persons often had to go seek out an attorney, pay a $5,000 retainer, and go through months of paperwork to legally inherit that property.
The dollar value increase proposed by Senator Lambert is appropriate, fitting, and a valuable bill to both notaries and Louisiana citizens alike.