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Louisiana Wills Laws

Just the phrase “last will and testament” evokes somber and serious scenarios. But are wills as scary as they sound? The short answer is no. And the Bayou State has specific guidelines that cover how a will can be created, who can create one, and what it can cover. Here is a brief overview of summary wills laws in Louisiana.

Wills Laws in Louisiana

A will is really just a person’s legal plan for what happens to his or her property after they pass away. And state wills laws dictate the who, what, and how of creating the plan. The basics of wills statutes in Louisiana are listed below.

Code Section

Louisiana Civil Code 1570, et seq.: Testaments

Age of Testator

To have the capacity to make a donation inter vivos or mortis causa, a person must also be able to comprehend generally the nature and consequences of the disposition that he is making. Minor over 16 can dispose only mortis causa (in prospect of death).

Number of Witnesses

Signed in presence of notary and two competent witnesses.

Nuncupative (Oral Wills)

Valid by: (1) Public Act: must be received by notary public in presence of 3 witnesses residing in place of execution or 5 not residing in place; must be written by notary as dictated and read to testator in presence of witnesses; must be signed by testator or expressly mentioned why he cannot and signed by at least one witness; (2) Act Under Private Signature: written by testator or another from his dictation and presented in front of 5 witnesses who reside in place of execution or 7 who do not (3 and 5 consecutively, if in the country and no other witnesses can be had).

Holographic Wills

Valid if entirely written, dated, and signed by testator; it is not subject to any other formality and may be made anywhere (even out-of-state).

Understanding Wills

Not everyone is familiar with the language in Louisiana estate planning laws. Here are some basic terms:

  • The “testator” is the person whose after-death wishes are specified in the will;
  • A “nuncupative” or oral will is one that is spoken or otherwise unwritten, and must meet the specific conditions above to be legally binding in Louisiana; and
  • A “holographic” will is a handwritten testament, which is only valid if it is entirely written, dated, and signed by the testator.

Louisiana Wills Laws: Related Resources

Navigating wills laws can be a daunting task, especially when trying to create a will. You can visit FindLaw’s Wills section for more resources and information on creating and changing a will. You can also contact a Louisiana wills attorney if you would like legal assistance creating or interpreting a will.

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