A will is only one aspect of a complete estate plan. If someone passes away without a will, it is called dying “intestate.” The deceased’s family is then at the mercy of the succession laws in terms of who will inherit. Speak to an experienced estate planning attorney before drafting your will to ensure your last wishes are properly conveyed.
Types of Wills in Louisiana
A notarial testament is a will in authentic form, meaning it is signed in front of two witnesses and a notary. It is the most common type of will to be prepared by an attorney. An experienced estate planning lawyer can tailor your will to fit your needs and desires, and ensure your will meets all form requirements.
An olographic testament is a will that is entirely written, dated, and signed in the handwriting of the testator. This type of will is the easiest to create as to form and may be the cheapest anyone can prepare on their own, but this type also has the greatest chance to be contested or declared invalid. Disputes often arise over the handwriting, due to the wording being ambiguous, and where errors were made.
Why Wills Are Critical
A last will and testament is the easiest way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after death. A will is essential to the estate planning process. In the event that someone passes without a will to express his or her wishes then his or her possessions will be divided according to state law. The drafting of a will is a highly personalized process. In addition to the distribution of property, a will can be used to establish limitations or restrictions for distribution of property. A will can also establish your personal funeral service requests and burial instructions.
Common provisions include: appointing a tutor for the care of any minors or disabled dependents; distribution of liquid assets; distribution of personal property; distribution of immovable property such as your home; and distribution of charitable contributions. Finally, a will help simplify the succession process and greatly reduce the costs of opening a succession and save your loved ones thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Updating Your Will
In general, it’s a good idea to update your will every few years. Lots of things can change that affect how your assets will be distributed or change the way you want them to be distributed. Reasons you may want to update your last will and testament include: getting married; getting divorced; your family has grown; your family has become blended; your children have reached adulthood; someone in your will has passed away; you acquired or sold property; your estate has lost or gained significant value; changes in state or Federal law; or you have moved to another state.
New Orleans Estate Planning Attorneys
Bowes, Petkovich & Palmer, LLC is a Gretna law firm that has served the New Orleans area since 1980. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can analyze your situation and advise you of your options regarding your last will and testament to ensure your final wishes are carried out according to your preferences. We take pride in offering a personal and trusted experience. Call us today for a free consultation and find out why so many of our clients come back to us.