olographic will

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A term used to refer to Louisiana’s equivalent of a holographic will. These are wills that are handwritten, signed, and dated by the testator alone and as such are typically unattested and unnotarized, meaning that no third party witnessed the signing of the will or formally established its authenticity. In Louisiana, if such a will is valid, it can also be used to create a valid trust. Succession of Payne, 524 So. 2d 803, 806 (La. Ct. App. 3d Cir. 1988).

A benefit to this form of a will is that any individual can create one without requiring legal representation to do so. As a result, courts typically interpret an olographic will more generously, with more emphasis on the testator’s intent as shown through the written language and with less focus on the more technical language usually found in wills. However, in probate proceedings an olographic will must withstand scrutiny against efforts to disprove that it was indeed written by the decedent and not by some other party, as well as that the testator intended that this particular document serve as a last will and testament.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]