Just calling a document a “Last Will and Testament” does not make it valid under Louisiana law.  While you might consider writing your own will to save the fuss and cost of working with a lawyer, there are some cautions that should be considered.  First, Louisiana law is quite different than many other states as a result of our French connection. Second, an error in execution or an inadequate understanding of the requirements for making certain designations could not only extending probate proceedings, but could leave the will invalid. Before taking on the monumental task of trying to ensure your wishes are honored from the grave, give Bonaventure Law Firm a call. We will be glad to work with you.

Last Will &Testament

When the term, “estate planning”, is used, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is a will, which is basically a document that you execute while you’re alive that lets everyone know what you want to do with your assets.   In a will, you name an executor, who is the person to be in-charge of charge of paying bills, inventorying assets, managing those assets until the beneficiaries are placed in possession, and making distributions to beneficiaries.   after you’re gone.  The executor's role is very important and should be someone you trust to honor your wishes, and also someone who will agree to the role.

Probate Proceedings

In Louisiana, after you die, your will has to go through a succession process where the will is “probated”, filed with the court to ensure validity and for the assets to be distributed to the beneficiaries, the people who are going to inherit the estate's remaining assets after debts are settled.  Barring any issues, we will prepare the pleadings to open the succession, file these documents with the court (usually without a hearing), and then obtain a judgment from the court that puts ther heirs in possession as stated in the will.

Modifying Your Will

When a will is prepared and signed, it is usually based on their current situation.  However, situations can change. Marriage, divorce, new children, grandchildren, moving to another state, are a few examples. When life changes occur, you should strongly consider updating your will.  Louisiana law allows a person to create a codicile to a will (modification), but a codicile must be created and executed according to the same laws that govern the creation and execution of wills. Generally, the former will should be revoked and a new will executed so to avoid confusion. At Bonaventure Law, we understand that changes happen and can work with you to make those changes without breaking the bank.