Law of Wills in Louisiana
Making a will isn’t necessary but it’s better to write one. Well if anybody doesn’t get a chance to draft a will, the problem can still be solved and the assets could be distributed to the rightful people.
What is a Will in Law?
First things first, a will is a legal document that expresses the wishes of a person and states that how the person wants his or her property and estate to be distributed among his or her close relatives or friends. The law recognizes a will as a valid legal document creating rights in favor of the persons who are mentioned in the will to get the benefit of the document and honor the wishes of the testator (the person who writes the will)
Is it important to write a Will?
Since a will (also called Last Will) is the document through which the property of a person is divided among his legal heirs, family members and/or friends, it is an important legal document for fulfilling one’s wishes with respect to his property after his or her death. The property will be distributed exactly in accordance with the wishes of the testator. This gives freedom to a person to decide about the distribution of his property, keeping in view his relations with people around him. He may choose someone to get more than others, due to the way that person had been dealing with him.
Who can make a Will?
In terms of the State of Louisiana law, a person who is capable to enter into legal relationships and can make a donation may write a will. The person must be in such a state of mind that he understands what he says of writes.
How to Make a Will?
A will can be made in different ways; before a notary public, by a fully handwritten document, or orally. Each type will have its own legal requirements to make it a legally enforceable document.
Will before Notary Public
A person can make a will before a notary and in the presence of two witnesses who are competent as witnesses under the law. This is the most used way of make a will and a less complicated one. As the document is prepared and signed before a public officer, its validity is simple to prove and its implementation is easy.
The law also recognizes the will in the form of a handwritten document, signed and dated, the testator. However, this is very tricky. Such kind of will can only be enforced if it is fully handwritten by the testator and no preprinted text is there on the document. To be treated such a document as a valid will, it must state the names of the persons to whom the property will go and the full description of the property. The documents must show the intention of the testator to distribute his property after his death in clear words. Further, the document must be dated and signed. This type of will is enforceable without any other formalities if it fulfills the above-mentioned criteria.
What if Someone Dies Without a Will?
As writing a will is not compulsory, there is a possibility that a man dies without a will. What will happen in that case is a question asked very often. In case a person leaves no will, he is called intestate and his property will be distributed according to Louisiana Intestate Law as an intestate succession. The distribution of the estate of the intestate decedent can either be through administrative succession or un-administered succession.
How to Proceed?
In order to get the property distributed among the legal heirs of the decedent, they will have to file a petition in the district court for an ex parte petition. The estate property must be evaluated and any unpaid bills and taxes. The court will identify the heirs and evaluate their mental capacity. Further, it will evaluate the existence of the persons who refuse or denounce any interest in the estate.
This form of succession is the most difficult in the Louisiana Successions. In administrative succession, the court appoints an executor who is responsible for all complexities regarding the decedent’s property and all administrative matters related to the estate.
This type of succession is only required when un-administered succession is not possible.
Administrative Successions are required when:
- there is a doubt related to the validity of will and testament.
- The heirs are not located and cannot be reached.
- The solvency of the estate is questionable.
- It is not clear which heir is entitled to what property.
- Notable disputes related to the rise of estate.
Tableau of Distribution
After all the problems are solved regarding estate and property. The responsible executor will prepare a tableau of distribution and present it to the court.
After everyone related to the case agrees with the documents of tableau of distribution the court will approve it and order to distribute the assets accordingly to the entitled heirs of the decedent.
It is the most accessible and common succession which many people prefer due to lesser complication and shorter time. In un-administered succession, no executor is required to settle the decedent’s estate and properties and everything is settled by the heirs mutually.
Intestate Un-Administered Successions
This method of un-administered succession is used when the estate is not controlled or governed by the will and property is distributed in terms of the relevant provisions of state law.
This method is used in the following circumstances:
- The estate and assets must be free of any debts.
- All parties related to the estate must accept and agree the un-administered succession.
Once a petition is filed and adjudicated by the court, it will finally pass a judgement for possession and the property will be distributed among the entitled legal heirs.
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