Notarial Wills

Besides the olographic will, Louisiana also has what is called a notarial will. This is the type of will that you will get when you retain the services of an attorney. The Civil Code sets out the basic requirements which are typically adhered to quite strictly. Anyone can draft up a piece of paper that meets these requirements, but that document might not have the end results you want. Consulting with an attorney is advised because they are trained to prepare the document in such a way that it conforms with your wishes after you have passed away.

Basically, you are paying for piece of mind. Lawyers will quiz you on your assets, children, spouses, and various other questions that seem irrelevant. However, what an attorney is doing is going through a mental checklist to create a will best suited to your needs. Ultimately, most people put their affairs in order to avoid conflicts or confusion after death. Who wants to pass away and leave a legacy of infighting between heirs, confusion as to what to do, or leaving unnecessary expenses. One situation that I hate to see is when clients spend exorbitant amounts of time and money hiring a lawyer, paying court costs, and other expenses that could have been avoided by having a will.

Hopefully this will convince you that consulting an attorney about a will is worth the time and money on the front end. If not, think about your legacy. You can decide, or you can let the State of Louisiana decide for you. Look at our forms section for an example of a “simple will” that is actually quite complex.

Louisiana wills.

There are two types of wills in Louisiana, the notarial will and the olographic will. The olographic will can be written on any sheet of paper, even a napkin, but it must strictly conform to the requirements of the statute.

It must beĀ entirely “written, dated, and signed in the handwriting” of you- the testator. At the very end of your will you must sign it and preferably date it. Everything written in your handwriting before your signature will be a completely valid will (in most cases but remember our tacit agreement page).

Remember, you have to follow the statute exactly as written. Any small changes could end up in the will being entirely or partially disregarded. There are several cases that have held that where the olographic will does not conform exactly to the statute, it will be disregarded. Just one example is a First Circuit case where a will was entirely typed and then signed at the bottom, the court held it was not a valid olographic will.

One more thing, if you decide to write an olographic will even dating the document can be tricky. Slash dates, such as 4/7/2011 are not suggested, since it is uncertain if it was written in July or in April. Check out our example olographic will on our forms page.