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What is a will?

A will is a binding legal document that directs your surviving family members or your executor how to dispose of your assets and informs them of other important information you want known after you’re gone. It’s one of those essential legal documents that everyone knows about, but surprisingly few people actually take the time to draw up. Unfortunately, this oversight can lead to family squabbles or property and other items being tied up in probate while your family waits. Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, there are still some very important reasons to leave a will.

Parents or guardians of minor children should have will in order to answer the question of guardianship in the event of the death of one or both parents or current guardians. Single persons with no children should also leave a will stipulating your wishes disposing of your remains and how any assets you do have should be divided among your friends and relatives. If you have a trust, you should leave a will outlining the disposal of items not listed in the trust; it’s also a way to minimize gift or estate taxes for your beneficiaries.

There are key times in your life when you should update your will. Upon marriage, re-marriage, divorce, the death of a spouse, and each time you add a new family member through birth or adoption, you should update your will. It should also be altered when you buy or dispose of property, open a business, or enter into a legal partnership. Life insurance policies and 401k plans with existing beneficiaries are sometimes overlooked or forgotten. The final will can override the terms of these documents as well.

The convenience of the Internet has made it easier to take care of this necessary chore without leaving your home. Residents can create Texas wills online from MyTexasWills.com. It’s an efficient and very affordable method for drawing up a new will or updating an existing one. Just fill in the blanks using the online form, send it for review by a one of their affiliated, licensed attorneys, print it out when you receive it the next day, sign on the dotted line, and store in a fire-proof box or other safe place.

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