Not all Louisiana wills need to be witnessed by a notary public. Louisiana law allows testators (people creating wills) to choose between creating a notarial will that is signed before a notary and two witnesses and an olographic will that is handwritten. Olographic wills do not need to be signed by a notary, but they do need to meet specific requirements before they can be admitted to the court and used in a Louisiana succession case.
What Is an Olographic Will?
An olographic will is handwritten by the testator. Olographic wills do not require the same formalities as notarial wills, but olographic wills must meet a few requirements to be valid. According to Louisiana law, olographic wills must be completely handwritten by the testator, dated, and signed by the testator.
Two Witnesses Needed to Submit Olographic Will to Court
To prevent fraud, Louisiana courts require two witnesses to testify that the olographic will was written, signed, and dated entirely by the testator. These witnesses must be credible and may either have personal knowledge of the testator’s handwriting or be handwriting experts.
Prepare for Potential Problems With Olographic Wills
Olographic wills are often easier to create than notarial wills, but they are also riskier than notarial wills. You could run into a problem getting a court to recognize and admit an olographic will if:
- There is preprinted material on the will. A form or preprinted material would mean that the entire will was not in the testator’s handwriting and could prevent it from being admitted in court.
- The document doesn’t make bequests. The purpose of a will is to direct what happens to property after death. If, for example, the document asks people to take certain actions, but it does not give them any property, then the document may not be considered an olographic will.
- A notary signs the document. Louisiana law recognizes olographic wills and notarial wills, but it does not recognize a hybrid of both types of wills. The only person who should sign an olographic will is the testator.
You want to make sure that your loved one’s wishes are honored. Therefore, it is essential to find the right witnesses to testify in court and to prepare for any problems that may arise. Our experienced Louisiana succession lawyers help hundreds of families throughout the state every year. Don’t take a chance submitting an olographic will on your own. Instead, call us today, and let’s work together to make sure that your loved one’s final wishes are honored.