Despite recognizing the importance of having a Last Will and Testament, as many as two-thirds of adult Americans don’t have one. A Last Will and Testament allows you to state how you wish your property to be distributed after your death. This legal document is now most commonly known as simply a will.
While the old terms distinguished between personal and real estate property, today’s will encompasses both types of property. A document carefully crafted by a New Orleans will lawyer helps to expedite the probate process and lightens the burden of estate taxes on beneficiaries. Although a will can be quite advantageous, as many as 70% of Americans do not create one.
The author of a will is legally defined as the testator. To be able to draft a will, you must be knowledgeable about the property you own, and mentally capable of making this decision for yourself. However, the will does not have to include all of your property.
As the testator, you are allowed to change and update your will as often as you wish. You may destroy it, thus revoking your written testament. An old will is going to be void as soon as a new one has been created. If you want the new will to be considered as an addition to the old one, you are required to state so in the new will.
Under Louisiana law, there are two types of wills — olographic testament and notarial testament. Both can be contested or declared void if the ramifications and legal procedures are not followed properly.
For a will to be found valid in Louisiana, it must meet the following requirements:
Olographic Wills: This type of will is handwritten entirely by the testator. It must be dated, with the day, month and year, and signed at the bottom by the testator. Any additions or deletions must be done in the testator’s own handwriting.
Notarial Testament: This type must be prepared in writing, usually typed, and the testator must declare in front of a notary and 2 witnesses that the document is his or her Last Will and Testament. Among other requirements, the testator must sign at the bottom of each page and at the end of the document and date it.
A will can be used to:
However, wills should not be used to:
If you want to clarify specific issues in your will, you should consult an experienced New Orleans will lawyer. We can assist with matters of:
Many Louisiana residents feel that wills are only necessary for those with a big estate and lots of assets. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone should have a will, no matter how large or small their estate.
Contact Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, L.L.P., today to talk to an experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in New Orleans today to get help with your estate plan.