Louisiana has very strict and specific requirements for how a will is formatted in order to be considered valid; it is generally best to work with an estate-planning attorney to create a will in the state of Louisiana. Although you can make an online will in Louisiana, we recommend that you do so only under the advisement of an attorney to ensure that your will is valid and legally binding.
Can I Make an Online Will in Louisiana?
Yes, you can make a will online in Louisiana. However, because Louisiana has strict requirements for how a will is formatted, it’s best to work with an attorney to have the will reviewed and make sure it meets all state requirements in Louisiana. You can use an online will making service (we recommend USLegalWills); then, once your online will is complete, have it reviewed by an estate planning attorney in Louisiana. Be sure to avoid generic templates to make a will in Louisiana. Using a generic template results in an invalid document; if the form is not exactly right, it will not be accepted into probate.
Here are the legal requirements for online will making in Louisiana:
- It must be in writing, formatted in the required way.
- All signatures must be done in the presence of a notary public.
- The Testator (the person writing the will) must declare that this document is their last will and testament in front of the notary and two competent witnesses.
- The Testator must sign on each separate page and at the end of the document.
- It must include a “testator **attestation clause” above where the Testator signs.
- The witnesses must sign a “witness attestation clause” in front of each other, the Testator, and the notary.
It is very important that you meet these requirements. Failure to do so invalidates the will. Do not, under any circumstance, sign any portion of the will until you and your witnesses are in the presence of a notary public.
Does Louisiana Require a Notarized Will?
Yes, Louisiana requires you to sign your will in front of a notary and two competent witnesses. While most states allow you to “self-prove” a will signed at any time, Louisiana is very strict about how the will itself is formatted as well as how it is signed.
Both a “testator attestation clause” and a “witness attestation clause” are required in wills in Louisiana. The Testator has to sign each individual page of a will in addition to signing at the end. All of this must be done in front of a notary and two competent witnesses. Failure to do so renders your will invalid.
Can I Name an Executor in Louisiana?
Yes, you can name an executor in your will—you can also do this in an online will in Louisiana. The executor is the person appointed to settle the estate and ensure that the will is followed. It is a good idea to name an executor in your will, and that person should be someone you know well and someone you trust. If an executor is not named in the will in Louisiana, the probate court will appoint an executor to handle the estate. Be sure to have a conversation about choosing them as your executor before naming them in the will; you want to make sure that they are up to the job.
For someone to qualify to serve as an executor in Louisiana, they:
- Must be at least 18 years old,
- Must be of sound mind, and
- Must not have any felony convictions on record.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are some specific guidelines in Louisiana:
- Any out-of-state executor must appoint an in-state agent. The in-state agent accepts legal documents on behalf of the estate.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Louisiana?
You do not expressly need an attorney to make a will in Louisiana. It is recommended to consult an attorney as the state is very strict on how wills are formatted. However, if you use an online will making service that provides a template customized for the state, which includes all the required language, then you can make an online will in Louisiana.
Be sure you follow the other requirements for the state, otherwise your will might be considered invalid. This includes signing in front of a notary, having the required clauses in the will, among other stipulations.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Louisiana?
Any type of will which meets the federal and state-specific requirements is valid in Louisiana, whether the will is made online or not. Remember: Louisiana does have very specific requirements for how a will is formatted and how it is signed.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Louisiana?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament that is written and signed by the Testator (the person making the will). Louisiana has defined holographic wills as “holographic testaments,” and they are recognized by the state if they are entirely written, dated, and signed in the handwriting of the Testator.
Because of the specific requirements the state has in terms of how a will is constructed and what language must be included, it is highly recommended that you do not attempt this. While olographic testaments can technically be recognized as valid by the court, it is highly unlikely that you will satisfy all the requirements. It is much better to use a reputable online will making service that provides a template specifically constructed for Louisiana.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Louisiana?
A nuncupative will is an oral will. Some individuals wish to leave oral wills on video. While nuncupative wills are not ideal, they are allowed in Louisiana under very narrow circumstances that meet very specific conditions.
For a nuncupative will to be recognized as valid in Louisiana, it must be:
- By a “public act”:
- 3 witnesses who live at the residence or 5 witnesses who do not, along with a notary public, must witness the declaration.
- Be written by the notary as dictated, which is then read back to the Testator, in front of the witnesses.
- Be signed by the Testator, or expressly mentioned why the Testator is unable to and signed by one of the witnesses.
- By “under private signature”:
- Written by the Testator or from their dictation,
- Presented in front of 5 witnesses who live at the residence or 7 who do not.
In any state, a nuncupative will is considered an emergency or last resort type of will; if the individual is facing imminent death and has not drafted a written will, a nuncupative will is better than leaving no instructions at all. Failure to satisfy either of the above requirements renders the nuncupative will invalid.
If time and health allow, a written, witnessed, and legally binding will is much better for avoiding legal delays when settling the estate.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Louisiana?
An advance directive, or a living will, is a legal document detailing medical decisions and end-of-life care desires. In Louisiana, it is called the Louisiana Declaration. A living will is not the same as a last will and testament, made online or otherwise, as these are two separate documents with two separate and distinct purposes. A last will and testament is specifically for matters after a person’s death, whereas a living will is for medical directives and end-of-life care should a person become incapacitated and unable to communicate medical decisions. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on living wills in Louisiana, you can go here.
Here is an overview of the legal requirements for a valid living will in Louisiana:
- Declarant must be at least 18 years old.
- It must be written,
- It must be signed by the declarant in the presence of two adult witnesses,
- The two witnesses (who may not be related to the declarant) must sign it.
Louisiana maintains a registry for living wills; for more information on the registry, go
Why Do I Need to Make an Online Will in Louisiana?
When someone dies without a will, every state has laws that decide what happens. Known as intestacy laws, these dictate how a person’s estate is divided after death. If you make a will, you have more control over your estate and how it is divided. You can distribute your estate in specific ways. Moreover, if you do not have a will, the court will appoint guardians for any minor children as well as the executor of your estate. If you make a will, you get to choose these people beforehand.
As mentioned, when it comes to dividing your estate if you have no will: the intestacy distribution laws of Louisiana determine how your estate is distributed. It is not uncommon that property is often held up in probate for months or even longer as the court determines how to apply the intestacy laws. To avoid potential delays and the court holding your property, it is better to have a valid will in place.
What Can I Include in An Online Will in Louisiana?
Aside from naming an executor and selecting a guardian for any minor children, you can also include the following when you make an online will in Louisiana:
- You can distribute property in a specific way.
- You can leave property or gifts to friends, family, charities, or other organizations.
- You can name someone to care for any pets.
- You can determine who receives family heirlooms.
- You can distribute other personal or sentimental items.
- You can name a guardian to oversee any property left to minor children.
What Should Not Be Included in A Will in Louisiana?
When you make an online will in Louisiana, you should not include funeral instructions, end-of-life care, or other medical directives in the will. Generally, when someone dies, funeral arrangements are made immediately. If you leave your wishes for the funeral in your will, your family is unlikely to know about them. Medical directives and end-of-life care stipulations require a separate legal document from a will; any conditions regarding medical decisions in a will are not considered legally binding.
To designate end-of-life care, create a living will.
To leave your funeral directions, you do not need to make a formal document. You can simply discuss your wishes with family members, but you can make a document that describes what you wish for your funeral arrangements. A document with your funeral directions does make it easier on your family when it comes time for them to plan the funeral. Be sure to give this document to the executor of your estate or another family member.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Louisiana?
A will, when executed properly, is a legally binding document; it is important to know how to change or revoke it. You can change or revoke your will at any time. You should revisit your will after any major life event—and you should consider updating it after any change in circumstance. Many times, if there are significant changes in your life (new assets, as an example), it is best to revoke your will and make a new one. To make only minor changes to a will, you can add a codicil to your will. A codicil is an amendment containing those changes, and it must be finalized in the same way that the original will is finalized.
Note: in Louisiana, birth or adoption of a child automatically revokes your will unless you provide for such contingency in the will. Divorce also revokes any language benefitting to your former spouse. In either situation, it is best to revisit your will and see if you should make any changes.
In Louisiana, you can change or revoke your will in the following ways:
- You can physically destroy it,
- You can order someone else to physically destroy it,
- You can write a document that states it revokes it (must be entirely in your handwriting, dated, and signed), or
- You can make a new will that states it revokes the prior will or has contradictory terms to the old one.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Louisiana?
After you make an online will in Louisiana, be sure to have it reviewed by a qualified attorney, and finalize it by:
- Signing each page of the will as well as at the end in front of two competent witnesses and a notary public, and
- Having your witnesses sign a “witness attestation clause.”
Be sure to consider these special considerations in Louisiana:
- Louisiana has “forced heirship,” which means that heirs are entitled to a percentage of the estate.
- Do not rely on a generic last will and testament form. Be sure to use a reputable online will making service with a template designed for Louisiana.
- Make sure both “testator attestation clause” and “witness attestation clause” are included in the will.
To get started with a will in Louisiana, USLegalWills is our recommendation. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy. Have your online will in Louisiana reviewed by a qualified estate-planning attorney. USLegalWills also offers a free service to document funeral wishes and save final messages for loved ones.