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David Kennett
David Kennett, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing attorney
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Louisiana Estate Law Question: My brother died very recently.

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Louisiana Estate Law Question: My brother died very recently. He lived on SS disability. He had few possessions and they were all thrown away or given to charity. His bank account has $0.22. SS disability is now stopped and no other deposits are expected. However he is left with many unpaid bills which the family have routed to a new PO Box. This situation falls under Small Succession rules in LA. An internet search and other research suggests we need to exercise an Affidavit of Small Succession. We have found the form. Question 1: What do we do with this form? Record it in some way at the local court house perhaps? Question 2: For an estate like this one which is insolvent, how should we deal with creditors? We have been sending them a boiler plate letter like the follow:

This note is to inform you that your client John Doe (Account # :_________________________) died on October 28th 2012 and was buried on November 1st 2012.
XXXXX XXXXXved on Social Security disability and after burial and other final costs there are no assets remaining in his estate. His estate is therefore insolvent with no funds remaining to pay-off unsecured debt.
As a result, any remaining unpaid balances pertaining to the account of John Doe will have to unfortunately be written off. If a copy of a death certificate is required to complete your internal process, please make a request in writing to the following forwarding address.
The Estate of John doe
PO Box xxxxx
Baton Rouge, LA 70884
Please be reminded that it is illegal to sell a deceased person's debt to a collection agency.
The family would like to thank your organization for the services rendered to John Doe while he was your client.
The Family of John Doe
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Was anyone else signed on any of the debts?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No. The family has been very careful to avoid cosigning or otherwise becoming entangled with his financial obligations.

Dear JACUSTOMER - The family has no obligation to anyone to do anything. You can certainly notify the creditors that he has passed away but there is no duty to open an estate or to pay bills or anything else. The creditors cannot collect anything from your family and if there is no estate there is nothing the creditors can do to collect the debts. Creditors are permitted to open an estate if there are assets from which to collect but the family members simply can walk away and do nothing. There is no requirement to send the creditors any notices and I would assume they are not seeking payment from you or sending collection notices to your address. I see no need to do a "small succession" since there's nothing to get from the estate so it would simply be a waste of time and filing fees.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks. Only one last question and you may have answered it. Are we under any obligation to file paperwork with the State testifying to the estate as being SMALL. Don't want to do anything that not required by law.

So long as no one in the family wants to claim anything from the estate then there's no reason to file anything. The family simply is not responsible for anything.
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