Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Who Are Next Of Kin In Louisiana?

Next of kin in Louisiana for purposes of intestate inheritance are generally the:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children and descendants
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings

What Do Next Of Kin Heirs Inherit In Louisiana?

If a Louisiana resident dies without a valid will, they have died intestate.  The Louisiana rules of intestate succession apply to determine who gets what from their intestate estate.

The next of kin (also called intestate successors and heirs under Louisiana Civil Code Art. 876) that will inherit under Louisiana intestate succession law depends on the other people that have survived the decedent.

Survivors of the Decedent

Share of Intestate Estate

Surviving spouse only

–          100% to spouse

Surviving spouse and children

–          Spouse receives “usufruct” (the right to use decedent’s share of the community property for life or until remarriage)

–          Children inherit all separate property, and community property subject to spouse’s usufruct

Children, no spouse

–          100% to children

Spouse and parents

–          100% of community property to spouse

–          100% of separate property to parents

Spouse and siblings, no parents

–          100% of community property to spouse

–          100% of separate property to siblings

Siblings and parents only

–          Parents have the right to use property for life, then 100% to siblings

Siblings only

–          100% to siblings

Nieces and nephews only

–          Nieces and nephews split evenly

Parents only

–          100% to parents

Grandparents only

–          Evenly split between paternal/maternal grandparents

None of the above

–          Nearest relatives share estate

Louisiana’s intestate succession rules for next of kin heirs at law can be found in Articles 880 through 899 of the Louisiana Civil Code, which can be accessed here.

To learn more about community property v. separate property, click here.

Inherited Real Property In Louisiana

Inherited real property is treated in a special way under Louisiana law.  If a decedent received real property as a gift, and then dies without children, the real property passes back or ascends to the ancestor that gifted the property.  Louisiana Civil Code Art. 898.

How Are Next of Kin Half-Siblings Treated Under Louisiana Intestate Succession Law?

Louisiana, unlike the majority of states, treats half-siblings differently than full-blood siblings. In the majority of states, a next of kin half-sibling inherits just like a whole sibling.  Under Louisiana intestate succession law, a next of kin half-sibling heir is only entitled to inherit from their blood line.   Louisiana Civil Code Art. 893 states:

The property that devolves to the brothers or sisters is divided among them equally, if they are all born of the same parents. If they are born of different unions, it is equally divided between the paternal and maternal lines of the deceased: brothers or sisters fully related by blood take in both lines and those related by half-blood take each in his own line. If there are brothers or sisters on one side only, they take the entirety to the exclusion of all relations in the other line.

How Are Adopted Children Treated Under Louisiana Intestate Succession Law?

Louisiana, like most states, treats adopted children the same as natural-born children for purposes of intestate succession.  Also, foster children and step-children are not considered your heirs for purposes of intestate succession.

However, Louisiana is different in that adopted-out children (children you had and then gave up for adoption) are still included as next of kin heirs for purposes of succession to your intestate estate.