HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It may not be the most comfortable topic, but it is incredibly important to have a will.
Most of us don't have one though. In fact, less than a quarter of Americans report having a will.
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes when it comes to your property and the care of your children. If you die without a will, it can lead to your loved ones having to spend more time, money and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you're gone.
You may think it takes a visit with an attorney, but that is not always the case.
If you visit a lawyer to have a will drafted, it takes a couple of hours to get everything written up and might set you back a few hundred dollars.
However, you can do this without an attorney in Texas.
You can leave a handwritten will.
It cannot be typed on the computer. It has to actually be handwritten.
You'll need to make sure it is entirely in your handwriting and it's easy to read. You'll also want to let your loved ones know where to find the document upon your death.
If you aren't sure what to include or if you have a large estate, an attorney can guide you through the process. In Houston, there is free help as well.
"Both Houston Volunteer Lawyers and Lone Star Legal Aid, and we do it at our clinic, will provide, sometimes workshops," said professor Janet Heppard, who is the clinical director at the University of Houston Law Center. "They also find volunteer attorneys, and there are some law firms out there who, part of their pro bono work attorneys do in the community, is helping people with these wills."
Here are some links to help you get started:
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Attorneys stress importance of having a will