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What is a do-it-yourself Will in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, an olographic will is a type of last will and testament that is entirely handwritten, dated and signed by the testator (the person making the will). An olographic will is a unique type of will recognized in Louisiana law under certain conditions.

Key features of an olographic will in Louisiana include:

  1. Handwritten by the Testator: An olographic will must be entirely handwritten by the person making the will. This means that it needs to be written in the testator’s own handwriting, including all the terms and provisions.
  2. Signed by the Testator: The olographic will must also be signed by the testator. While witnesses are not required for this type of will, the testator’s signature is essential for it to be legally valid.
  3. Date Requirement: You must include the date when the olographic will was written. The date assists in determining the will’s relevance and sequence in relation to other estate planning documents or versions of the will.
  4. No Witnesses Required: Unlike traditional wills that often require witnesses, an olographic will in Louisiana does not need witness signatures to be considered legally valid. There is also no notary requirement.

These factors make the olographic will the only true do-it-yourself will in Louisiana. You can find the codal requirements here.

However, while Louisiana law recognizes olographic wills, there are potential challenges and risks associated with them. Their handwritten nature might lead to issues regarding interpretation, clarity, or potential disputes among heirs or beneficiaries if the language used is ambiguous or if there are doubts about the authenticity of the document.

It’s generally advisable to have a professionally drafted and properly executed will, which is not only clearer in its terms but also reduces the likelihood of legal challenges or disputes after the testator’s passing. Seeking legal advice and having a clear, professionally prepared will can help ensure that your wishes are accurately represented and followed, minimizing the possibility of complications during the probate process.