Appealed from the Second Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Claiborne, Louisiana Trial Court No. 10798
Honorable Jimmy Cecil Teat, Judge.
W. DOWD Counsel for Appellant.
D. MCCALLUM Counsel for Appellee.
MOORE, GARRETT, and STONE, JJ.
trial court denied Steven D. Pelfrey's petition to have
the last will and testament of Strouder C. Pelfrey declared
invalid for failure to meet the requirements of La. C.C. art.
1577. Steven D. Pelfrey now appeals. For the following
reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
C. Pelfrey ("the decedent") died testate on August
25, 2015. On February 29, 2016, the decedent's son,
Steven D. Pelfrey ("Steven"), filed a petition and
rule to show cause requesting the trial court appoint him as
administrator and declare the last will and testament of the
decedent, dated January 14, 2014, invalid. Steven argued the
will did not contain a sufficient attestation clause, and
thus, did not meet the requirements of La. C.C. art. 1577
("Article 1577"). On May 9, 2016, Theresa D.
Pelfrey ("Theresa") filed a petition to probate the
will and be appointed executrix as designated by the decedent
in his will. On July 15, 2016, the trial court appointed
Theresa executrix of the decedent's estate pending the
result of Steven's petition.
hearing on Steven's petition was held on November 17,
2016. On January 24, 2017, the trial court issued written
reasons for judgment and found the decedent's will valid
because it met the requirements of Article 1577. On July 19,
2017, the trial court rendered a final judgment denying
Steven's petition. Steven now appeals.
formalities prescribed for the execution of a testament must
be observed or the testament is absolutely null. La. C.C.
art. 1573. The purpose of prescribing formalities for the
execution of wills is to guard against mistake, imposition,
undue influence, fraud or deception, to afford a means of
determining the will's authenticity, and to prevent
substitution of some other writing in its place.
Succession of Roussel, 373 So.2d 155, 158 (La.
The notarial testament shall be prepared in writing and dated
and shall be executed in the following manner. If the
testator knows how to sign his name and to read and is
physically able to do both, then:
(1) In the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses,
the testator shall declare or signify to them that the
instrument is his testament and shall sign his name at the