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Estate Planning with Wills

Most people know about wills and their basic purpose – to ensure that one’s hard earned assets go to the right beneficiaries when an individual passes away. However, wills can be used for a lot more than simply dictating who gets a person’s antique lamp collection. Here’s a list of some of the very valuable things a will can do:
 

  • List who gets what. The most common purpose of a will is to name which individual, or group of individuals, will receive particular property belonging to a person when he or she passes away.
     
  • Name guardians for children. Typically, a will is the document that states who should raise a person’s children if something happens to the parent. The will also usually contains at least one alternate in the event the first choice cannot serve.
     
  • Establish trusts. In many cases, a person may not want a child or loved one to receive all of the property being inherited at once or may want the beneficiary to be able to use the property for a period of time and then pass it on to someone else. In either of these situations, an individual may choose to use a trust. A trust holds property on someone else’s behalf. In wills, trusts are commonly established for minor children, so that someone else can manage the children’s money until they reach a certain age when their parents believe they will be able to manage it. Trusts are also commonly used in second marriage situations – a person may want to allow a spouse to have access to certain property while the spouse is living, but for that property to ultimately pass to the decedent’s children from his or her prior marriage. Trusts can help accomplish that goal.
      
  • Tax planning. Wills can be great tools for tax planning to avoid or reduce federal estate taxes. This can sometimes be accomplished by setting up various trusts.
     
  • Naming executors and trustees. A will names the executor of the estate, who is the person who will carry out a deceased individual’s wishes listed in the will. Wills also name the trustee of any trusts established in a will.  The trustee is the person who will be in charge of carrying out the instructions of the trusts.

While wills can serve as powerful estate planning tools, they are effective only if they are drafted properly to suit the needs of each individual. Our firm can review all your options with you and establish a will in a manner that ensures your wishes will be honored.

 


N. Dean Hawkins & Associates, Inc. assists clients throughout the Dallas metropolitan area, including Dallas, Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties.



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12801 N. Central Expressway, Suite 540, Dallas, TX 75243
| Phone: 972.934.2830

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