The “Dos and Don'ts” of Writing a Will

The “Dos and Don'ts” of Writing a Will
April 19, 2024

Writing a will ensures that your wishes are respected when you’re no longer able to articulate them yourself. By outlining your intentions for the distribution of your assets, a will helps prevent confusion and potential disputes amongst family members. Having a will in place also allows your loved ones to focus on grieving and healing rather than dealing with legal complexities or disagreements over inheritance. In Louisiana, where the laws governing wills differ from those in other states, understanding some key “Dos and Don'ts” can help you navigate this process effectively.


Consult with an Attorney: While it's possible to write your own will using online templates or software, seeking guidance from an experienced attorney is highly recommended. With our expertise in wills and successions, Averill & Reaney can provide invaluable advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

State Your Wishes Clearly and Precisely: Your will should outline exactly how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death. Be specific about who will receive what, including any personal belongings, real estate, investments, and sentimental items.

Name an Executor: Designate someone you trust to serve as the executor of your estate. This individual will be responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will, including distributing assets, paying debts, and handling any legal matters.

Consider Guardianship: If you have minor children, appointing a guardian is essential. This ensures that someone you trust will care for your children in the event of your passing.

Review and Update Your Will Regularly: Life circumstances change, so it's vital to review and update your will when they do. Events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, or significant changes in assets should prompt a review of your will to ensure it remains accurate and reflects your wishes.


Don't Procrastinate: Writing a will is often something people put off, but it's essential to address it sooner rather than later. Unexpected events can occur at any time, so it's best to have your affairs in order. In Louisiana, if you pass away without a will, state law determines how your property is distributed. Be proactive and ensure your assets are distributed according to your preferences.

Don't Forget Formalities: In Louisiana, wills must meet specific criteria to be valid. This can include signing the will in the presence of a notary and two witnesses who also sign the document. Failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in your will being contested or invalidated.

Don't Disregard Legal Advice: While it may be tempting to draft your own will using online resources, doing so could lead to unintended consequences or legal issues down the line. Consulting with an attorney ensures that your will complies with Louisiana law and accurately reflects your intentions.

Don't Overlook Digital Assets: In today's world, it's essential to consider digital assets such as online accounts, cryptocurrencies, and digital media. Your will should address how these assets will be managed and distributed after your passing.

We Can Help!

Writing a will is foundational to the estate planning process, and you deserve the assurance of knowing it’s been done correctly. By following these “Dos and Don’ts” and seeking guidance from experienced professionals at Averill & Reaney, you can ensure your wishes are properly documented and your loved ones are provided for after you're gone. If you're considering writing a will or have any questions about estate planning, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance.