Articles 1577 through 1582.1 of Louisiana’s Civil Code contain the rules governing how to write a last will & testament in Louisiana. Those statutes explain that if a person dies without a will, that person is said to have died “intestate.” This means that the person’s property will be distributed according to the statute and not necessarily according to the person's wishes. If you live in Louisiana and want to control where you property goes and who will act as guardian of your minor children when you pass away, write a will.
Know how to read and how to sign your name. Louisiana differs from most states in that there is no minimum age needed to make a will; however, you must be able to read and sign your name in order to write a will. Louisiana also does not require sound mental capacity as a statutory requirement to write a will. This means that you may still draft a legal will even if you have been declared mentally incompetent in a prior court proceeding.
Identify yourself and explain that the document is your will. While this may seem obvious, you must include this information to make it unequivocal that you intend the document to be your will and you intend it to control the disposition of your property and the appointment of any guardians.
Decide how you want your property to be distributed. Louisiana follows other states' rules in that you can make a distribution of your property to any person or organization. If you want to give a specific person a specific item, write out the name and address of the person and describe the object you are giving. You may also choose to give a “general” distribution such as “to my children, to be divided equally among them.”
Take the completed document to a Louisiana Notary Public. Bring two witnesses to sign the document.
Sign the will in the presence of two witnesses and a notary. Louisiana law states that a witnesses may not be blind, deaf, unable to read, under the age of 16, or unable to sign his name. Additionally, the witness cannot have been declared insane. It is helpful that the witness not be "interested" in the will (meaning that they are being given something in the will as a bequest or inheritance). Have "disinterested" witnesses (those not receiving anything from you in the will) sign the will to protect the will against any legal challenges.
Louisiana allows "holographic" wills. Holographic wills are handwritten wills that must be written by the testator, in the testator's own handwriting, and it must be dated by the testator. Failure to have any of the previous elements in a holographic will may cause the will to be invalidated in court in which case your property would be distributed as if you did not write a will.
This article was written for informative purposes only and does not purport to offer legal advice. Readers with legal issues should speak to an attorney.
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