Quick Guide to Wills

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As of July 1, 1999, Louisiana law now only recognizes two forms of testaments as valid: Olographic Testaments and Notarial Testaments. However, if a testator wrote a will in accordance with the form requirements for one of the types of testaments which existed prior to the revision, then that testament will still be considered valid today.

An Olographic Will must be entirely written, dated and signed in the handwriting of the testator. The date may appear anywhere in the testament. The Testator must sign at the end of the testament. Anything written after the signature will not be considered invalid, but will be left up to the court’s discretion as to its validity.

A Notarial Will shall be prepared in writing, dated and executed in the following manner if the testator knows how to sign his name and read and is physically able to do both. The Testator shall sign his name at the end of the testament and on each separate page in the presence of a Notary and 2 competent witnesses. The form of the writing of the Notarial Will whether typewritten on a typewriter or computer is immaterial. There are some important distinctions regarding who can witness a testament. A person cannot be a witness to any testament if he is insane, blind, under the age of 16, or unable to sign his name. If the witness or notary is a legatee, it does not invalidate the testament, but may invalidate the legacy to that particular witness or notary. Additionally, a person may not be a witness to a testament if that person is a spouse of a legatee at the time of the execution of the will.

Louisiana law does not have any provisions that recognize oral wills, even if they are recorded on electronic media such as a videotape. Although, videotapes are sometimes used by attorneys to preserve demonstrative evidence such as competence of the testator or the absence of fraud and/or duress.

As always, if you have any questions are concerns you can contact the author, Olivia Byers, at obyers@titlestream.com.