How to Find a Will in Louisiana
The death of a loved one is an emotional and challenging time for anyone. In addition to coping with the loss, you may also need to locate the deceased person’s will. A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s property and assets should be distributed after their death. If you are in Louisiana and need to find a will, here are some steps to guide you through the process.
1. Start with the deceased’s personal papers: Begin by searching their personal files, safes, or any other secure locations where important documents may be kept. Look for folders or envelopes labeled “Will” or “Estate Planning.”
2. Contact their attorney: If the deceased person had an attorney, reach out to them to inquire about the existence and location of the will. Attorneys often keep copies of their clients’ wills or may have information about where the original document is stored.
3. Check with the probate court: If you still can’t locate the will, contact the local probate court in the parish where the deceased resided. They can provide information on whether the will was filed with the court for safekeeping.
4. Search the Louisiana State Archives: If the deceased person’s will is historical in nature, it may be stored in the Louisiana State Archives. Visit their website or contact them directly for assistance in locating the document.
5. Inquire with the notary public: In Louisiana, wills can be notarized and stored by a notary public. Reach out to the notary who notarized the will to inquire about its whereabouts.
6. Contact the bank: If the deceased person had a safety deposit box at a bank, check with the bank to see if they have a copy of the will in their possession.
7. Ask family and friends: Reach out to close family members and friends of the deceased to see if they have any knowledge of the will’s location.
8. Seek professional help: If all else fails, consider hiring an experienced probate attorney who can assist you in finding the will and navigating the legal process.
1. Can I search for a will online in Louisiana?
No, wills are not accessible online in Louisiana. You will need to follow the steps mentioned above to locate a will.
2. How long does it take to find a will in Louisiana?
The time it takes to find a will can vary depending on various factors. It may take a few weeks or even months to locate the document.
3. Can I open a safety deposit box without a will?
Typically, you will need a court order to open a deceased person’s safety deposit box. Having a will can help expedite the process.
4. What happens if I cannot find a will?
If a will cannot be located, the estate may be subject to Louisiana’s intestate succession laws, where assets are distributed according to a predetermined order.
5. Can I draft my own will in Louisiana?
Yes, Louisiana allows for the creation of a holographic will, which can be written by hand and signed by the testator (the person making the will) without the presence of witnesses.
6. Are all wills in Louisiana filed with the probate court?
No, not all wills in Louisiana are required to be filed with the probate court. It is best to contact the court to determine if the will is on file.
7. Can a will be contested in Louisiana?
Yes, a will can be challenged or contested in Louisiana under certain circumstances, such as if there are concerns about the testator’s mental capacity or if there is suspicion of fraud or undue influence.
8. Can I remove property from the deceased person’s home before finding the will?
It is generally advised to wait until the will is located before removing any property from the deceased person’s home to ensure that you are following the instructions outlined in the will accurately.
Finding a will in Louisiana can be a daunting task, but by following these steps and seeking appropriate help, you can navigate the process smoothly and ensure the deceased person’s wishes are honored.