Steps to Creating A Last Will and Testament in Louisiana
It didn't seem like an important thing to do. I mean, why create a last will and testament when you have a loving family that knows every little bit about you? People you've spent your whole life with, they know your worst fears, understand what comes first to you, your weaknesses, and they know what you would like done - just the way you would. It wouldn't matter if you didn't create a will; these people have got your back, right? Well, wrong!
With that kind of thinking, I would soon learn that when it comes to taking care of your kids when you are no longer alive, you have to be specific about guardianship. And when it comes to assets, write down your wishes and divide those assets as you deem fit while you’re breathing. This realization dawned on me when a close friend, with my kind of thinking, overlooked the need to create a will - the outcome - family wrangles and kids wondering what went wrong.
Like you, you wouldn't want people to fight over what you worked so hard for, and you definitely wouldn't want your kids to suffer just because you didn't prepare a single document, right?
A last will and testament refers to the document you create to outline your wishes regarding the care of your children, as well as the distribution of your assets.
As the creator of that free last will and testament in Louisiana, the law recognizes you as the testator.
The people you want to inherit your estate are beneficiaries or heirs.
And even if you have the most loving family, you have to appoint an executor. The executor being that person tasked with overseeing and settling your estate as per your wishes. An executor could be one of the heirs, an attorney, or a family member you trust to respect your wishes. Note that the executor must get the authority to distribute your wealth from the probate court, once the court validates your will.
Besides ensuring your family, friends, or that charitable organization close to your heart gets a piece of your estate, you may also use the will to create a testamentary trust for your children or pet.
What happens if you don't create a will?
It is a simple process and creating a will may take a few minutes. But, if you don't create your last will and testament, the state of Louisiana will invoke Intestacy state laws to distribute your intestate (property to be divided by the state in the absence of a will).
These strict laws will decide to distribute your estate in the following manner; depending on whether you have surviving children, a spouse, parents, or close relatives.
If you leave behind a spouse, he or she decides how they want to use any shared/ community property for the rest of their lives. The kids you leave behind will only inherit the estate after the death of the spouse. Kids will inherit the separate estate.
If you don't have kids but have left behind a spouse and parents, your spouse takes the communal property, and your parents take the separate property. This also applies if you have surviving siblings rather than parents.
And, should you have no children and no spouse, but are survived by parents and siblings, then your entire estate will go to your parents for life, and your siblings will inherit the estate when your parents pass on.
Since these state laws hardly represent your wishes, create a last will and testament.
Steps of creating a will
- Get a free Louisiana last will and testament form and if you need professional guidance, ask for it.
- List your beneficiaries. Keep this list updated
- Appoint an executor
- Appoint a guardian for your kids
- Specify how to distribute and what you wish to distribute in either dollar value, the percentage of the estate, or specific items. This should be realistic.
- Add any other details you want to communicate
- Sign the will and let witnesses sign it
- Keep it safe
- Review it.
Note: You can create the will at any time, and though the state laws don't specify whether you must be of sound mind or not, you have to sign the will at the notary public accompanied by two competent adult witnesses. Witnesses should be present to declare that you are signing the will out of your own volition.
The will should be in writing.
Changing the will
You can change the will using a codicil which ensures that the will follows the standard procedures for creating wills – Code Section C.C. Art. 1476, 1575, 1577, 1578, 1579, 1581.
Revoking a will
- Revocation happens through:
- Creation of a subsequent will
- Writing a formal notice to revoke the will
- Destroying the will intentionally.
Are you ready to create last will? We could help you get started with our free last will and testament forms in Louisiana.