Yes, in the state of Louisiana, handwritten wills are legal. Also known as holographic wills, these official documents must be dated, signed, and entirely in your handwriting. While this method might be fast and easy, our team of estate planning attorneys does not recommend it. Often a person writing their own will leaves behind mass confusion for those interpreting property and assets. Attorney Ken DeJean, from Losavio & DeJean, LLC, The Louisiana Elder Law Firm, talks about his experiences with handwritten wills.
“Writing your own will can create a legal animal that doesn’t exist under the law,” says DeJean. “In all my years of practicing law I’ve been in five cases that involved handwritten wills and they all had something in common – conflict. There was litigation that was driven because of it.”
One major complication with holographic wills comes in the form of asset distribution. If you’re trying to make sure that a specific person or family member receives an asset, an established will is a much better option.
“Intending for an asset to go to a particular person takes time. You’ll want to make sure every aspect of the will is covered in detail. This leaves behind no room for arguments to be made otherwise,” says DeJean.
Need to establish your will? Contact our team of estate planning lawyers today. We would love to discuss your wishes for the future!
Is There a Situation Where I Should Write My Will?
Yes, handwritten wills are ideal if you’re in an emergency. Rather than taking time to plan out property and assets, a handwritten will allows someone to quickly put something on paper. For example, if a family member may soon be passing on, a written document would be better than nothing. This gives your family an idea of what you wanted.
Does a Handwritten Will Need to be Notarized?
No, Louisiana law does not require holographic wills to be notarized. However, state courts do require at least two witnesses with knowledge of your handwriting. If the writing is still in debate, a handwriting expert may be called in to review other documents for validity. This gives the handwritten will legitimacy and allows for the legal process to move forward.
How Long Does an Established Will Take?
Depending on the amount of property and assets, a will could be established in as little as two days. However, for much larger estates, wills could take up to two weeks or longer. Either way, establishing an official will ensures that you’ve covered your entire estate. Leaving behind no questions after you’ve passed away is one way to make your family’s life a little easier.
Do I Need an Estate Lawyer for my Will?
While a lawyer isn’t required, it certainly helps. At Losavio & DeJean, LLC, The Louisiana Elder Law Firm, we’ll help you think about the following aspects:
- Assets and property
- Extended family members
- Existing debts
- The financial status of the estate
- Personal preferences for the distribution of assets
We’ve been offering our estate knowledge since 1976. Through passionate conversations and trustworthy legal representation, we’ve helped clients prepare for the future. Navigating probate litigation is the last thing anyone wants to do when trying to cope with the loss of a loved one. Ensuring your will checks off all the boxes will help eliminate the chances of any debate.
To start drafting your will, give us a call today: (800) 835-5864!