Louisiana's Requirements for a Will
Louisiana's Requirements for a Will
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Louisiana's Requirements for a Will

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Summary of Louisiana's Will Requirements:

Minimum Age to Make a Will L16
Written Document Required Yes
Nuncupative Wills (Oral) No
Holographic Wills (Hand-Written, Unwitnessed) No
Number of Witnesses Required 21
Self-Proving Affidavit No
Statutory Form for Self-Proving Affidavit No

 

 

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Statutes Governing Louisiana's Will Requirements:

 

Testaments; form

A disposition mortis causa may be made only in the form of a testament authorized by law.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1570

 

Testaments with others or by others prohibited

A testament may not be executed by a mandatary for the testator.  Nor may more than one person execute a testament in the same instrument.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1571

 

Testamentary dispositions committed to the choice of a third person

Testamentary dispositions committed to the choice of a third person are null, except as expressly provided by law. A testator may delegate to his executor the authority to allocate specific assets to satisfy a legacy expressed in terms of a value or a quantum, including a fractional share.

The testator may expressly delegate to his executor the authority to allocate a legacy to one or more entities or trustees of trusts organized for educational, charitable, religious, or other philanthropic purposes.  The entities or trusts may be designated by the testator or, when authorized to do so, by the executor in his discretion.  In addition, the testator may expressly delegate to his executor the authority to impose conditions on those legacies.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1572

 

Formalities

The formalities prescribed for the execution of a testament must be observed or the testament is absolutely null.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1573

 

Forms of testaments

There are two forms of testaments: olographic and notarial.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1574

 

Olographic testament

A.  An olographic testament is one entirely written, dated, and signed in the handwriting of the testator.  Although the date may appear anywhere in the testament, the testator must sign the testament at the end of the testament.  If anything is written by the testator after his signature, the testament shall not be invalid and such writing may be considered by the court, in its discretion, as part of the testament.  The olographic testament is subject to no other requirement as to form.  The date is sufficiently indicated if the day, month, and year are reasonably ascertainable from information in the testament, as clarified by extrinsic evidence, if necessary.

B.  Additions and deletions on the testament may be given effect only if made by the hand of the testator.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1575

 

Notarial testament

A notarial testament is one that is executed in accordance with the formalities of Articles 1577 through 1580.1.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1576

 

Requirements of form

The notarial testament shall be prepared in writing and dated and shall be executed in the following manner.  If the testator knows how to sign his name and to read and is physically able to do both, then:

(1)  In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare or signify to them that the instrument is his testament and shall sign his name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar:  "In our presence the testator has declared or signified that this instrument is his testament and has signed it at the end and on each other separate page, and in the presence of the testator and each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this ____day of _________, ____."

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1577

 

Notarial testament; testator literate and sighted but physically unable to sign

When a testator knows how to sign his name and to read, and is physically able to read but unable to sign his name because of a physical infirmity, the procedure for execution of a notarial testament is as follows:

(1)  In the presence of the notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare or signify to them that the instrument is his testament, that he is able to see and read but unable to sign because of a physical infirmity, and shall affix his mark where his signature would otherwise be required; and if he is unable to affix his mark he may direct another person to assist him in affixing a mark, or to sign his name in his place.  The other person may be one of the witnesses or the notary.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar:  "In our presence the testator has declared or signified that this is his testament, and that he is able to see and read and knows how to sign his name but is unable to do so because of a physical infirmity; and in our presence he has affixed, or caused to be affixed, his mark or name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page, and in the presence of the testator and each other, we have subscribed our names this _____day of ____, _____."

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1578

 

Notarial testament; testator unable to read

When a testator does not know how to read, or is physically impaired to the extent that he cannot read, whether or not he is able to sign his name, the procedure for execution of a notarial testament is as follows:

(1)  The written testament must be read aloud in the presence of the testator, the notary, and two competent witnesses.  The witnesses, and the notary if he is not the person who reads the testament aloud, must follow the reading on copies of the testament.  After the reading, the testator must declare or signify to them that he heard the reading, and that the instrument is his testament.  If he knows how, and is able to do so, the testator must sign his name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page of the instrument.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and witnesses must sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar:  "This testament has been read aloud in our presence and in the presence of the testator, such reading having been followed on copies of the testament by the witnesses [, and the notary if he is not the person who reads it aloud,] and in our presence the testator declared or signified that he heard the reading, and that the instrument is his testament, and that he signed his name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page; and in the presence of the testator and each other, we have subscribed our names this ____day of ____, ______."

(3)  If the testator does not know how to sign his name or is unable to sign because of a physical infirmity, he must so declare or signify and then affix his mark, or cause it to be affixed, where his signature would otherwise be required; and if he is unable to affix his mark he may direct another person to assist him in affixing a mark or to sign his name in his place.  The other person may be one of the witnesses or the notary.  In this instance, the required declaration must be modified to recite in addition that the testator declared or signified that he did not know how to sign his name or was unable to do so because of a physical infirmity; and that he affixed, or caused to be affixed, his mark or name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page.

(4)  A person who may execute a testament authorized by either Article 1577 or 1578 may also execute a testament authorized by this Article.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1579

 

Notarial testament in braille form

A testator who knows how to and is physically able to read braille, may execute a notarial testament according to the following procedure:

(1)  In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator must declare or signify that the testament, written in braille, is his testament, and must sign his name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page of the instrument.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and witnesses must sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar: "In our presence the testator has signed this testament at the end and on each other separate page and has declared or signified that it is his testament; and in the presence of the testator and each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this ____day of _____, _____."

(3)  If the testator is unable to sign his name because of a physical infirmity, he must so declare or signify and then affix, or cause to be affixed, his mark where his signature would otherwise be required; and if he is unable to affix his mark he may direct another person to assist him in affixing a mark, or to sign his name in his place.  The other person may be one of the witnesses or the notary.  In this instance, the required declaration must be modified to recite in addition that the testator declared or signified that he was unable to sign his name because of a physical infirmity; and that he affixed, or caused to be affixed, his mark or name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page.

(4)  The declaration in the notarial testament in braille form must be in writing, not in braille.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1580

 

Deaf or deaf and blind notarial testament; form; witnesses1

A.  A notarial testament may be executed under this Article only by a person who has been legally declared physically deaf or deaf and blind and who is able to read sign language, braille, or visual English.

B.  The notarial testament shall be prepared and shall be dated and executed in the following manner:

(1)  In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare or signify to them that the instrument is his testament and shall sign his name at the end of the testament and on each other separate page of the instrument.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall then sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar:  "The testator has signed this testament at the end and on each other separate page, and has declared or signified in our presence that this instrument is his testament, and in the presence of the testator and each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this __________ day of ____________, 2____ ."

C.  If the testator is unable to sign his name because of a physical infirmity, the testament shall be dated and executed in the following manner:

(1)  In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses, the testator shall declare or signify by sign or visual English to them that the instrument is his last testament, that he is unable to sign because of a physical infirmity, and shall then affix his mark at the end of the testament and on each other separate page of the instrument.

(2)  In the presence of the testator and each other, the notary and the witnesses shall then sign the following declaration, or one substantially similar: "The testator has declared or signified by sign or visual English that he knows how to sign his name but is unable to sign his name because of a physical infirmity and he has affixed his mark at the end and on each other separate page of this testament, and declared or signified in our presence that this instrument is his testament and in the presence of the testator and each other we have hereunto subscribed our names this ___________ day of ___________________, 2_____."

D.  The attestation clause required by Subparagraphs B(2) and C(2) shall be prepared in writing.

E.(1)  A competent witness for the purposes of this Article is a person who meets the qualifications of Articles 1581 and 1582, and who knows how to sign his name and to read the required attestation clause, and is physically able to do both. At least one of the witnesses to the testament shall also meet the qualifications of a certified interpreter for the deaf as provided for in R.S. 46:2361 et seq.

(2)  The testator shall be given the choice of accommodation services afforded by the use of large print, braille, or a tactile interpreter.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1580.1

 

Persons incompetent to be witnesses

A person cannot be a witness to any testament if he is insane, blind, under the age of sixteen, or unable to sign his name.  A person who is competent but deaf or unable to read cannot be a witness to a notarial testament under Article 1579.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1581

 

Effect of witness or notary as legatee

The fact that a witness or the notary is a legatee does not invalidate the testament.  A legacy to a witness or the notary is invalid, but if the witness would be an heir in intestacy, the witness may receive the lesser of his intestate share or the legacy in the testament.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1582

 

Persons prohibited from witnessing; effect

>A person may not be a witness to a testament if that person is a spouse of a legatee at the time of the execution of the testament.  The fact that a witness is the spouse of a legatee does not invalidate the testament; however, a legacy to a witness' spouse is invalid, if the witness is the spouse of the legatee at the time of the execution of the testament.  If the legacy is invalid under the provisions of this Article, and if the legatee would be an heir in intestacy, the legatee may receive the lesser of his intestate share or legacy in the testament.  Any testamentary terms or restrictions placed on the legacy shall remain in effect.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code, Art. 1582.1

 

Will probated outside state may be allowed and recorded

A will duly proved, allowed, and admitted to probate outside of this state, may be allowed and recorded in the proper court of any parish in this state, in which the testator shall have left any estate.

Louisiana Requirements for a Will - Civil Code

 

[Reference - Louisiana Requirements for a Will]

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