In Louisiana, to give real estate to another is done by Donation.  This can be effected in a will that passes the property after the Donor’s death.  Or it can be done by executing an Act of Donation which takes place immediately. The Act should be filed in the Property Records of the Parish which makes it a public record and notifies the world of the transaction.  In New Orleans, besides charging a usual filing fee, a additional cost is the Documentary Transfer Tax of $325.00, which goes to the City of New Orleans.

JohnMenszer2-Crop_-7535In order to execute an Act of Donation both the Donor and Donee have to physically appear before a notary or before a lawyer who is a notary.  If a person is not able to appear, then he or she may execute a Power of Attorney to appoint someone else to appear for him.  However, it is also possible to execute an Act of Donation in two parts.  The Donor can appear before one notary to give away the property and the Donee can appear before another, at a different time and even in another State, to accept the gift.  Note that in Louisiana it is necessary that two witnesses sign along with the parties and the notary.  Because Louisiana is the only State that requires two witnesses, I often get back out of State Acts witnessed by only one observer.  Of course, this requires a redo of the transaction.

It is necessary that the real estate be described in the Act with an accurate property description.  Many people have copies of their deed, but if not, the Attorney can find it by a search of the property records.  A person contemplating donating their property should note that a donation is irrevocable.  If the basis for the donation changes the Donor cannot easily undo his or her act of generosity.