How to Write a Handwritten Will in Louisiana
A will is an essential legal document that allows you to distribute your assets and outline your final wishes after you pass away. While it is always recommended to consult an attorney when creating a will, Louisiana law acknowledges the validity of handwritten wills, also known as holographic wills. This article will guide you through the process of writing a handwritten will in Louisiana, providing step-by-step instructions and answering frequently asked questions.
Step 1: Understand the Legal Requirements
Before proceeding, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific legal requirements for a handwritten will in Louisiana. According to Louisiana Civil Code Article 1577, a handwritten will must meet the following criteria:
1. The entire will must be written in your own handwriting.
2. The will must be dated and signed by you.
3. It is recommended to include a statement that the document is your last will and testament.
Step 2: Gather the Necessary Information
To ensure an accurate and comprehensive handwritten will, gather all the necessary information beforehand. This includes:
1. A list of your assets and their respective beneficiaries.
2. Names and contact information of the executor(s), who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.
3. Information about potential guardians for any minor children.
Step 3: Start Writing Your Will
Once you have all the necessary information, you can begin the process of writing your handwritten will. Follow these steps:
1. Start by stating that this document is your last will and testament.
2. Clearly state your full name and address.
3. Specify that you are of sound mind and are voluntarily creating this will.
4. Outline how you want your assets to be distributed, including specific beneficiaries and any conditions or instructions.
5. Name an executor(s) who will ensure the proper execution of your will.
6. If you have minor children, state your preference for their guardianship.
7. Sign and date the will at the bottom of the document.
Step 4: Store Your Will Securely
After completing your handwritten will, it is essential to store it securely. Consider the following options:
1. Keep the will in a safe deposit box at a bank.
2. Entrust it to a close and trusted family member or friend.
3. Give a copy to your attorney for safekeeping.
Q: Can I type my will instead of handwriting it?
A: No. In Louisiana, a handwritten will must be entirely written in your own handwriting.
Q: Can I use a pre-printed will form and add my own handwriting to it?
A: No. Louisiana law only recognizes wills that are entirely handwritten.
Q: What happens if I make a mistake when handwriting my will?
A: If you make a mistake, it is best to start over on a new sheet of paper. Do not use correction fluid or try to make amendments on the original document, as it may raise doubts about the validity of your will.
Q: Can I write a handwritten will on a computer and then print it out?
A: No. The entire will must be handwritten, including your signature and the date.
Q: Is it recommended to consult an attorney when creating a handwritten will?
A: While not required by law, it is highly recommended to consult an attorney to ensure your will is legally sound, valid, and properly executed. An attorney can also assist with any complex situations or unique circumstances.
In conclusion, a handwritten will in Louisiana can be a valid legal document if it meets the specific criteria outlined by the state law. However, it is always wise to seek professional guidance to ensure your will accurately reflects your final wishes and is legally binding.