After You Have Lost a Loved One

Affidavit of Small Succession

If the decedent died intestate (without a will), and the property or assets the decedent owned at the time of death are valued at less than $125,000, and the only heirs are descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), or ascendants (parents, grandparents, etc.), or siblings, or nieces and nephews, or a surviving spouse, then a notary public can prepare an Affidavit of Small Succession.  This is not “just a simple form” that can be completed in a few minutes.  It is a process that takes a little time (usually two to six weeks) and at least two visits, but it is much simpler and less time-consuming than a judicial succession proceeding. And, since you do not have to go through a court proceeding, we can help you get this done.


A financial institution or insurance company might provide you with a "Small Estate Affidavit" to be signed in the presence of a notary, and sometimes two witnesses.  This is usually just another name for an Affidavit of Small Succession, or it may be a hybrid of the affidavits mentioned on this page. If you have all of the necessary information, this affidavit may be completed on a walk-in basis.

Surviving Spouse Affidavit

Financial institutions are allowed to pay up to a total of $10,000 to the surviving spouse of a deceased depositor without any court proceedings, order or judgment. The surviving spouse shall submit to the financial institution an affidavit affirming that the total amount withdrawn from all accounts does not exceed $10,000.  When the surviving spouse receives the money, he or she automatically agrees to a full release and discharge of the financial institution from liability.


If you have all of the necessary information, this affidavit can be completed on a walk-in basis.  It is quick, easy and inexpensive.

Small Deposit Affidavit

Financial institutions are allowed to pay up to $5,000 to the surviving spouse and/or heirs of a deceased depositor who died without a will. No court proceedings, order or judgment is required. The surviving spouse and/or heirs shall submit to the financial institution an affidavit affirming that the total funds on deposit anywhere do not exceed $5,000.  When the surviving spouse and/or heirs receive the money, they automatically agree to a full release and discharge of the financial institution from liability. 


If you have all of the necessary information, this affidavit can be completed on a walk-in basis.  It is quick, easy and inexpensive.

Affidavit Requesting Payment of Last Wages and Other Benefits

Employers are allowed to release a deceased employee's last wages, sick leave, annual leave, or other benefits to the surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, to any adult child of the deceased employee.  No court proceedings, order or judgment is required.  The person requesting payment must submit to the employer an affidavit affirming certain information about the deceased employee, their relationship to the deceased employee, and any other information the employer may require.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an estate?

An estate is everything a person owned at the time of death; for example, personal items, jewelry, a house, furnishings and appliances, a car, and/or cash, checks or money in the bank.  Also, if a person fails to name a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, then when he or she dies, the proceeds of that policy might be considered as part of his or her estate.


What is the procedure for getting an Affidavit of Small Succession done?

The Affidavit of Small Succession requires at least two visits.  When we schedule your appointment, we will tell you what type of information and documents you need to bring to the initial visit.  If more information is required, you can call us later to provide that information.  We will prepare the Affidavit of Small Succession, and you will come back to sign it in the presence of the notary and two witnesses.


Can an Affidavit of Small Succession be done if the deceased person lived and died in another state, but left property in Louisiana?

Yes, but only if the decedent had a will that was probated by a court in the other state, and if the property left in Louisiana meets the small succession requirements (see above).


Can a Surviving Spouse Affidavit be executed if the deceased person had more than $10,000 in the bank?

Yes.  It's just that financial institutions cannot pay out more than $10,000 total from all accounts. And, it does not matter whether the decedent died intestate (without a will) or testate (with a will).


If the deceased person had $3,000 in one bank, $2,000 in another bank, and $1,000 in a credit union, can a small deposit affidavit be executed

No.  The total funds on deposit in all financial institutions cannot exceed $5,000.  In this scenario, the total amount on deposit equals $6,000.  A spouse can execute a Surviving Spouse Affidavit (see above).  If there is no surviving spouse, then the heirs may be able to execute an Affidavit of Small Succession (see above).