When the deceased person had no Will and left separate property, this is the order of who will inherit that property:
Category 1. Descendants: This class is any relatives directly below you on your family tree (your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren). Keep in mind that the closer related members will exclude those more remote. Hence, if your children are still alive, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not inherit because your children will outrank them.
Category 2. If you have no living descendants, then the property will go to the decedent's parents and siblings.
Here are the following possible situations for category #2:
- If you have 1 living parent that parent will inherit something called a usufruct over the property. If you have 1 living sibling, that sibling will inherit something called naked ownership of the property
- If both parents are living (even if they are separated or divorced) they will inherit a joint usufruct over the property. If any 1 or more siblings are living, they will share naked ownership of the property.
- If there are no living parents, but you have 1 or more siblings, that sibling will inherit full ownership or the siblings will equally split the full ownership.
- If one or both parents are living but you leave no siblings, the parent(s) will inherit ownership fully.
- If the decedent leaves any half-siblings, the division of the property is complicated. The property is divided into the maternal and paternal sides and any full siblings are put on both sides. If this is your situation, contact a successions attorney for further help or send us an email and we may be able to help you.
- Step-siblings are not included for inheritance unless the deceased person adopted them, they are then treated as a normal full sibling.
Category 3. If the deceased left no living descendants, or parents, or siblings, the property will be inherited by a "Spouse not judicially separated" - Physical separation plays no role here. The spouse of the deceased is only cut out if they are judicially separated which typically entails a divorce that was finalized.
Category 4. If the deceased left no living descendants, or parents, or siblings, or spouse, the property will be inherited by "Other Ascendants" - These are relatives directly above you on your family tree, minus the decedent's parents. This category is referring to the decedent's grandparents or great-grandparents.
Here are the following possible situations for category #4:
- Your grandparents come before your great grandparents and therefore any living grandparent will outrank any living great-grandparents.
- This is complicated in a similar way to the half-siblings complication. Any grandparents on your maternal side will inherit or split the maternal 50% and any grandparents on your paternal side will inherit or split the paternal 50%
- For example, if the decedent has a living maternal grandpa and both living paternal grandpa and grandma - then your maternal grandpa will inherit 50% of your property while the paternal grandparents will split the other 50% which will give them each 25% of your property
- If there is only one grandparent, regardless of a maternal or paternal side, they will inherit the entire property
- Step-grandparents are not included in the inheritance
- If you have no living grandparents, any living great-grandparents will inherit the same way (maternal side versus paternal side)
Category 5. If you leave no descendants, or parents, or siblings, or spouse, or ascendants, then the property will be inherited to "other collaterals" - this refers to someone on your family tree who is related by blood but is not directly below or above the decedent. This category includes any living aunts, uncles, and cousins. Aunts and Uncles will usually be more closely related and will outrank cousins. Your living collaterals will inherit equally. For example, if you have 2 living aunts and 2 living uncles, each will inherit 25% of the property.
Category 6. If you leave no relatives covered in the 5 categories above, meaning you died with NO family, the property will go to the State of Louisiana.