Does my father have “usufruct” of a house and property listed as separate property in my mother’s estate?

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2011

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Does my father have “usufruct” of a house and property listed as separate property in my mother’s estate?

The property was given to my mother by her mother. In my mother’s succession, the community property was listed (vehicles, bank accounts, stock, etc.) and then the land and house were listed as “separate real estate property”. My father says he has usufruct of everything and I have no say in anything concerning the house and property.

Asked on August 7, 2011 Louisiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It is my understanding that Louisiana's law (which follows the Napoleonic Code still so that says a lot) regarding usufructs is very complex.  So this question is really best asked to an attorney in your area.  Simply put it is my understanding that a usufruct is an ownership right - for lack of a better term - to use assets.  When the right ends then the assets return to the owners - called "naked" owners.  Now, some assets are known as "consumable" assets and "nonconsumable" assets.  Cash is consumable so if you are the usufruct of the cash assets you can own them outright so they are yours.  But the house is nonconsumable so when you pass as the owner of the usufruct pass away the naked owners own the house. But there are some issues as to what the usufruct owner can and can not do with the property (like rent or sell).  Is there a Will?  The usufruct is generally in a Will.  Please get help.  Good luck.  

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