Forced Heirship in Louisiana

May 31, 2022

An elderly couple drafting a will

What is Forced Heirship in Louisiana?

Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with forced heirship inheritance laws. Forced heirship requires a portion of the inheritance to be distributed to children under a certain age or who meet other conditions, even if their parent left them out of the will.

If you believe you are a forced heir or are planning for your succession, you should consult with an experienced succession and estate planning attorney. At Dowden & Smith, our attorneys are well-versed in Louisiana’s forced heirship laws and can help you, whether you’re drafting a will and estate plan or you are a forced heir. Call our office today at 337-238-2800 to learn about your options.

[Related: Basics of Louisiana Inheritance Laws]

Who Qualifies for Forced Heirship in Louisiana

In simple terms, children of a deceased parent, whether they are biological or adopted, will be forced to inherit as long as they are twenty-three years of age or younger at the time of the parent’s death. According to the Louisiana Civil Code:

“Forced heirs are descendants of the first degree who, at the time of the death of the decedent, are twenty-three years of age or younger or descendants of the first degree of any age who, because of mental incapacity or physical infirmity, are permanently incapable of taking care of their persons or administering their estates at the time of the death of the decedent.”

Forced heirship laws in Louisiana are still developing, as the courts interpret the conditions that render an individual “permanently incapable of taking care of their persons.” So, if you believe you are a forced heir, calling an attorney and hearing your options is the best way to protect your inheritance. If you’re planning your will, there are ways to draft a will that provides for Louisiana’s forced heirship laws in the least burdensome way possible. Contact our experienced attorneys today and protect your inheritance and your family.

Two parents with their son in a fieldForced Heirship & Forced Portions

In Louisiana, forced heirship requires a certain portion of an estate to be distributed to the forced heirs. This portion is known as the forced portion or legitime. The forced portion is taken from the entire estate, and the remaining disposable portion is divided according to the will.

How the forced portion is divided depends on the number of children who qualify as forced heirs. Generally, if there is a single heir, they receive ¼ of the estate as a forced portion. If there are two or more children, they will split ½ of the estate equally.

[Related: The Difference Between Will & Estate Plan]

Can You Restrict Forced Heirship in Louisiana?

Lawyer going over forced heirship paperworkYes, forced heirship can be restricted in Louisiana. However, certain requirements must be met in order to restrict it. The deceased parent may choose to leave a usufruct (the right to use another’s property) for their surviving spouse, place the forced portion into a trust, or delay the distribution with a survivorship requirement. Forced heirship is a complex situation, to learn about your options, consult an experienced succession attorney today.

If you believe you are a forced heir or you are planning for your succession, don’t hesitate to contact Dowden & Smith. Our attorneys can help you navigate Louisiana’s forced heirship laws and protect your rights. Call us today at 337-238-2800 and schedule a free consultation to receive compassionate and qualified legal advice.


The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice. The information contained on this site is for general information only and should not be applied to any specific situation. Any use of the site does not create or constitute a client-lawyer relationship between Dowden & Smith and the user of the site. If you require legal advice, consult with an experienced attorney.

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