It’s not unusual for people to take shortcuts and try to avoid spending money on wills by hand-writing one. Although this practice is permitted under Louisiana law as long as the form requirements are met, there are some inherent dangers in this practice.
People who write their own wills are usually not attorneys themselves and have limited knowledge of the law. If they attempt to be too technical, they can create legal entities or legal transfers that are not recognized by Louisiana law and cannot be enforced by the Courts.
People can also be imprecise with their language, making it difficult to interpret what a person who wrote their own will wanted. This can lead to costly and time-consuming litigation, bringing in the very attorneys that the decedent attempted to avoid in the first place.
The old saying “you get what you pay for” applies here. I cannot tell you the number of handwritten wills involving large estates that end up being litigated in courts. If your estate is important to you, you should spend some more time and money to ensure that your will is legal and will be recognized, and that your intentions are clear so they can be enforced.
If you have any questions, you should consult and experienced estate attorney.
-Kent S. DeJean