Pineville, LA asked in Family Law, Civil Rights, Probate and Wrongful Death for Louisiana

Q: If a person signs affidavit claiming that the Will before him is the descent handwriting bc he has seen it beforehand

What will be the penalty, if any, if the Will is to be fraudulent n forgery, unbeknownst to t he signer of the affidavit?

2 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI

A: There is not a penalty for being WRONG, there is a penalty for KNOWINGLY misrepresenting or lying. If the affiant HONESTLY believed the handwriting was the same then there isn't a problem even if the handwriting is later proven to be faked. The 'trick' here is proof. Does the handwriting 'look' right even though an expert analysis shows flaws? Or is it more like Bart Simpson's chalkboard writing when the decedent could have been used as a Palmer handwriting model? In other words, how likely IS it that this was an honest mistake or is it just obviously something that doesn't look right?

In other words -- don't lie in an affidavit! ...

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

Christie Tournet
Christie Tournet
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Mandeville, LA
  • Licensed in Louisiana

A: If someone passes with a handwritten will (an olographic will in LA), Affidavits are required from persons who can attest to knowing the handwriting of the deceased testator to probate the handwritten will. If the affiant simply attested to knowing and recognizing the handwriting, without any fraudulent intent, then the person who signed the affidavit is not necessarily subject to penalty. If something is awry such as a potential, fraudulent will/forgery, or fraudulent intent in signing the Affidavit, then those are circumstances to address in a contested succession/probate proceeding.

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