This will be a very brief article today, as it’s fairly simple to explain.
The State of Louisiana has very specific rules as to the requirements of what makes a document a valid Last Will and Testament. Our rules are different from other parts of the country. For example, the law requires the testator to sign the bottom of each page. Failure to do so will render the will invalid. Furthermore, there is an attestation clause which recites how the will was signed and that it was done so in front of the two witnesses and the Notary. Our law even provides the specific language that you need to use.
Pre-Printed will forms that you can fill in and print out from the internet, then bring to a Notary, often do no comply with Louisiana Law.
Don’t chance having your estate plan be a complete mess because you used one of these forms. Find an estate attorney who will draft it correctly. Ask around and get prices, as a Last Will and Testament should not be too expensive. Is it more than doing it yourself online? Of course. But your family and loved ones will thank you immensely if you avoid the pitfalls by using that service.
If I never see another invalid Pre-printed Will here in Louisiana, I will be very happy. It does disturb me that lay notaries don’t pay attention and at least point out to the client that the will as to form is invalid.
If you have friends or loved ones who tell you they went online or got a form from Office Depot to do their will, please tell them to consult with an attorney.
I just had to tell a client this week that their mother’s will was totally invalid as it did not comply with Louisiana law. Her mother’s last wishes would not be followed. How sad is that.