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Lesson From Heath Ledger’s Untimely Death – Make Your Will Right Now

Posted on Jan 23, 2008 in Celebrity Justice, National Issues

First, condolences to the family and friends of Heath Ledger.  While the world lost a great talent, you have additionally lost a loved one - a father, son, friend - and our well wishes and prayers go out to you. Second, there is something to be learned from this unexpected and untimely passing of a young (28) man -- death can happen to anyone, at anytime, and not being realistically prepared for that can have devestating consequences for your family. You can make a will, right now, that will be recognized in Louisiana and in many other states - and this can tide you over until you get yourself to an attorney for a more formal and detailed document.  How? Olographic wills (or "holographic wills," in other states such as Texas) have been recognized in Louisiana as valid since 1999, when the Louisiana legislature recognized these handwritten documents as legally binding.  (Check here for your state, if you live outside of Louisiana.) How do you create a valid olographic will? 1.  Write it in your own handwriting, all of it.  No typing.  No dictating to someone else. 2.  Date it. 3.  Sign it. That's it.  You don't have to be in the state of Louisiana when you create this will, and you don't have to have it notarized, either. Remember, keep it simple.  Give overall directions, not great detail.  "I leave everything to my wife," is fine and much easier to deal with legally than an itemization of every single piece of property that you own. This procedure can also be used to update an existing will - it can act as an amendment, or a codicil. Do this today, put this handwritten document in a safe place, and you've insured that your property will be distributed as you wish, and not according to state law, should something unexpected happen to you. It's something that not only benefits your loved ones, it's also a way of making something good come from the tragedy of Heath Ledger's passing. For more information, see LA Civ Code 1574 et seq.

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