last update 12-5-02
Louisiana's Independent Administration Law
In the past, if a succession was under administration, the Executor could
make some decisions but such actions were normally subject to
advertising and obtaining court approval. For instance, for an Executor
to sell a tract of land owned by a decedent, the Executor would have to
obtain an offer of purchase, then advertise that he would be requesting
approval from the Court to sell the property, that advertising would have
to be done twice and at least 20 days apart, thereafter, he would have to
wait a minimum of 7 days prior to requesting Court approval.
Considering Court delays, weekends and holidays, the total time delay
could be as much as 45 days.
Louisiana has now adopted a new Independent Administration law that
cuts through all of the red tape. It allows the Executor to sell the
property immediately without advertising and without obtaining Court
approval. Basically, the independent executor has all of the rights,
powers, authority and privileges of other succession representatives but
without the necessity of obtaining court approval to exercise them. This
should be a time-saver and a cost-saver for those successions that require
New wills can incorporate the Independent Administration law and
existing wills can be easily modified to take advantage of it. Even
existing successions can adopt the provisions even though the person is
Here are the provisions of the new law.
Act 974 of the 2001 Legislative Session created new articles in the La
Code of Civil Procedure 3396 to 3396.20 and 5251(14) relative to
probate procedures to provide for independent administration of
The concept is very simply and application of the law to new and
existing wills and/or probate matters is simple.
Independent administration of a succession simply means that the
succession can be administered under this new law. The terms
administrator of a succession and executor of a succession are
interchangeable and mean the succession representative of the
To qualify for the provisions of independent administration, the will only
needs to include a simple statement that the succession representative
may act as an independent administrator or independent executor. That
simple statement is all that is needed to kick in the provisions of the new
If a person dies without having stated that his succession can be
independently administered, then all of the general or universal legatees
may agree to have an independent administration and in the application
for filing for probate of the decedent's testament collectively designate
the person named in the will to serve as independent executor. The
court is then required to enter an order granting independent
administration of the succession.
If the decedent died without naming an executor or dies without a will,
then all of the heirs/legatees may agree on having an independent
administration and collectively designate a qualified person to serve.
If a usufruct is involved in the succession, both the usufructuary and the
real owners are required to agree on the use of independent
Some wills now provide that if a spouse does not survive the decedent
for a period of time then it is deemed that the person pre-deceased the
decedent. This is to prevent doubling up of estates and taxes when it can
be avoided. In this case, the parties do not have to wait for the period
of time to pass to elect independent administration but an election made
during the period of survivorship will be valid.
A person can waive the requirements for an executor to have a bond.
In the case of independent administration, the law provides that the
executor does not have to have a bond unless the heirs/legatees require
An independent administrator is not required to file interim accountings.
However, he may be required to do so if an heir/legatee demands it. He
is required to file a final accounting unless the heirs/legatees waive that
======================== WARNING =======================
This information is provided for the reader's benefit in
becoming familiar with the legal matters discussed. Your
particular facts may be different from the points above.
You should not rely on the above data without consulting a
attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case
and the law of your state.
If you live in Louisiana and want to talk about your situation, please
call me at:
Marvin E. Owen
3036 Brakley Drive
Baton Rouge, La 70816
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