Under Louisiana law, only two forms of a testament are permitted: an olographic testament (one entirely written, dated and signed in the handwriting of the testator) and a notarial testament (the testator executes in the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses and in accord with other code requirements). Some clients are surprised to learn that handwriting a will, or using an e-based software, does not pan out to be such an easy task. Because your testament should control final distribution of your estate and appoint persons to prudently administer the estate, if necessary, you should consider if your estate plan accomplishes the following:
• Meets the strict form requirements of the Louisiana Code. A properly drafted notarial will is self-proving on its face. Thus, it not only provides peace of mind to the testator, but it also alleviates hassles for your beneficiaries and can reduce chances for a will contest.
• Addresses the potential for the beneficiaries that pre-decease you. Proper will drafting should consider these scenarios and aim to prevent the need for opening multiple successions.
• Considers the potential for forced heirship. In the event that forced heirship issues arise, a properly drafted will can account for your intentions and still provide for your intended beneficiaries when considering the forced heir.
• Permits independent administration. If any administration is required with the succession, this authority permits your executor the opportunity to proceed with a streamlined and cost-effective process, without the necessity or delay of court approvals.
• Considers your unique family situation including split-families, minor children or any special needs family members.
Christie Tournet & Associates, LLC, provides estate planning, estate administration and commercial law services. The practice is located at 1795 W. Causeway Approach, Suite 103A in Mandeville.