State laws set out the specific requirements for executing a Last Will and Testament. These laws are very similar and don’t vary too widely from state to state. A best practice approach to executing a Will would include the following steps:
- while it is only a legal requirement in Louisiana, you should write your initials, in the presence of two witnesses (in Vermont, you should have three witnesses), at the bottom of each page of your Last Will, except the last (signature) page;
- each of the witnesses should then, in your presence and in the presence of each other, initial each page next to where you just placed your initials;
- you should then insert the date on which you are signing the Last Will in the space provided on the final page of the Will;
- you should write your initials beside where you inserted the date;
- each of the witnesses should then, in your presence and in the presence of each other, write their initials beside where you placed your initials (i.e. beside the date);
- you must then sign your ordinary signature, using a pen, in the space provided on the final execution page of the Last Will; and
- each witness must then, in your presence and in the presence of each other, write his/her name and address in the space provided on the final page of the Last Will and then sign their name with their normal signature.
There are also additional rules which need to be considered. Firstly, witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and should not be your spouse or a beneficiary under your Will (or a spouse of such beneficiary), as this could nullify any gifts made to them under the Will. Secondly, in Louisiana a Last Will must be notarized.
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