Slidell, LA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Louisiana

Q: Are handwritten wills legal in Louisiana? If so, do they need to be witnessed and notarized?

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2 Lawyer Answers

Robert Martin Louque Jr

  • New Orleans, LA
  • Licensed in Louisiana

A: Handwritten wills are perfectly legal in Louisiana. The only purpose behind them is so someone does not have to go to a notary and have witnesses. It just has to be hand written, signed, and dated. It can be on a dirty McDonald's napkin as long as it meets the requires of an olographic will.

1 user found this answer helpful

Morgan Travis Allison

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Houma, LA
  • Licensed in Louisiana

A: They are legal IF DONE RIGHT. If there is a mistake, though, they are worthless. I had a client who's brother wanted to save some money and tried to do his own will. It was signed and completely written in his own hand as the law requires, but he did not date it. Also, he was not absolutely clear about his intent. It looked like he wanted to leave everything to his sister instead of his daughter... but it was arguable. So, his estate passed as if he did not have a will at all.

Even if it works, the probate process is a little more complicated than with a regular notarial will, because it is not a "self-proving" document. So, yes, technically, if you do it exactly right, you can write your own will and not need a notary or a lawyer, but don't risk it and don't put that burden on your loved ones.

1 user found this answer helpful

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