Louisiana Civil Code

Table of Contents (Download PDF)

SECTION 3 - OF THE COMPETENCE OF WITNESSES AND OF CERTAIN DESIGNATIONS IN TESTAMENTS

Art. 1581. A person cannot be a witness to any testament if he is insane, blind, under the age of sixteen, or unable to sign his name. A person who is competent but deaf or unable to read cannot be a witness to a notarial testament under Article 1579. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1582. The fact that a witness or the notary is a legatee does not invalidate the testament. A legacy to a witness or the notary is invalid, but if the witness would be an heir in intestacy, the witness may receive the lesser of his intestate share or the legacy in the testament. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1582.1. A person may not be a witness to a testament if that person is a spouse of a legatee at the time of the execution of the testament. The fact that a witness is the spouse of a legatee does not invalidate the testament; however, a legacy to a witness' spouse is invalid, if the witness is the spouse of the legatee at the time of the execution of the testament. If the legacy is invalid under the provisions of this Article, and if the legatee would be an heir in intestacy, the legatee may receive the lesser of his intestate share or legacy in the testament. Any testamentary terms or restrictions placed on the legacy shall remain in effect. [Acts 2003, No. 707, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004; Acts 2004, No. 231, §1]

Art. 1583. The designation of a succession representative or a trustee, or an attorney for either of them, is not a legacy. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

 

SECTION 4 - TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITIONS

Art. 1584. Testamentary dispositions are particular, general, or universal. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1585. A universal legacy is a disposition of all of the estate, or the balance of the estate that remains after particular legacies.

A universal legacy may be made jointly for the benefit of more than one legatee without changing its nature. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1586. A general legacy is a disposition by which the testator bequeaths a fraction or a certain proportion of the estate, or a fraction or certain proportion of the balance of the estate that remains after particular legacies. In addition, a disposition of property expressly described by the testator as all, or a fraction or a certain proportion of one of the following categories of property, is also a general legacy: separate or community property, movable or immovable property, or corporeal or incorporeal property. This list of categories is exclusive. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1587. A legacy that is neither general nor universal is a particular legacy. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1588. A legacy to more than one person is either joint or separate. It is separate when the testator assigns shares and joint when he does not. Nevertheless, the testator may make a legacy joint or separate by expressly designating it as such. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1589. A legacy lapses when:

(1) The legatee predeceases the testator.

(2) The legatee is incapable of receiving at the death of the testator.

(3) The legacy is subject to a suspensive condition, and the condition can no longer be fulfilled or the legatee dies before fulfillment of the condition.

(4) The legatee is declared unworthy.

(5) The legacy is renounced, but only to the extent of the renunciation.

(6) The legacy is declared invalid.

(7) The legacy is declared null, as for example, for fraud, duress, or undue influence. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1590. Testamentary accretion takes place when a legacy lapses.

Accretion takes place according to the testament, or, in the absence of a governing testamentary provision, according to the following Articles. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1591. When a particular or a general legacy lapses, accretion takes place in favor of the successor who, under the testament, would have received the thing if the legacy had not been made. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. 1999]

Art. 1592. When a legacy to a joint legatee lapses, accretion takes place ratably in favor of the other joint legatees, except as provided in the following Article. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1593. If a legatee, joint or otherwise, is a child or sibling of the testator, or a descendant of a child or sibling of the testator, then to the extent that the legatee's interest in the legacy lapses, accretion takes place in favor of his descendants by roots who were in existence at the time of the decedent's death. The provisions of this Article shall not apply to a legacy that is declared invalid or is declared null for fraud, duress, or undue influence. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 2001, No. 824, §1]

Art. 1594. [Reserved]

Art. 1595. All legacies that lapse, and are not disposed of under the preceding Articles, accrete ratably to the universal legatees.

When a general legacy is phrased as a residue or balance of the estate without specifying that the residue or balance is the remaining fraction or a certain portion of the estate after the other general legacies, even though that is its effect, it shall be treated as a universal legacy for purposes of accretion under this Article. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1596. Any portion of the estate not disposed of under the foregoing rules devolves by intestacy. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1597. A. A legacy is extinguished to the extent that property forming all or part of the legacy is lost, extinguished, or destroyed before the death of the testator. However, the legatee is entitled to any part of the property that remains and to any uncollected insurance proceeds attributable to the loss, extinction, or destruction, and to the testator's right of action against any person liable for the loss, extinction, or destruction.

B. A legacy of a certain object is not extinguished when the object of the legacy has been transformed into a similar object without an act of the testator.

C. If the object of the legacy has been condemned or expropriated prior to the testator's death, the legatee is entitled to any uncollected award and to succeed to any right of action concerning the condemnation or expropriation. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 2001, No. 824, §1]

Art. 1598. All legacies, whether particular, general, or universal, include the fruits and products attributable to the object of the legacy from the date of death, but the right of any legatee to distribution under this Article is subject to administration of the succession.

Nevertheless, the legatee of a specified amount of money is entitled to interest on it, at a reasonable rate, beginning one year after the testator's death, but the executor may, by contradictory proceedings with the legatee and upon good cause shown, obtain an extension of time for such interest to begin to accrue and for such other modification with regard to payment of interest as the court deems appropriate. If, however, the legacy is subject to a usufruct for life of a surviving spouse or is held in trust subject to an income interest for life, to or for the benefit of a surviving spouse, the spouse shall be entitled to interest on the money from the date of death at a reasonable rate. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1599. If the testator has not expressly declared a preference in the payment of legacies, the preference shall be governed by the following Articles. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1600. A particular legacy must be discharged in preference to all others. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1601. If the property remaining after payment of the debts and satisfaction of the legitime proves insufficient to discharge all particular legacies, the legacies of specific things must be discharged first and then the legacies of groups and collections of things. Any remaining property must be applied toward the discharge of legacies of money, to be divided among the legatees of money in proportion to the amounts of their legacies. When a legacy of money is expressly declared to be in recompense for services, it shall be paid in preference to all other legacies of money. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1602. Intestate successors and general and universal legatees are personally bound to discharge an unpaid particular legacy, each in proportion to the part of the estate that he receives. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]

Art. 1603. [Reserved]

Art. 1604. In all the foregoing instances, a successor who is obligated to discharge a legacy is personally liable for his failure to do so only to the extent of the value of the property of the estate that he receives, valued as of the time of receipt. He is not personally liable to other successors by way of contribution or reimbursement for any greater amount. [Acts 1997, No. 1421, §1, eff. July 1, 1999]