For the last 15 years, Jo Bess Jackson, has been assisting people with their estate planning. Our firm, located in Dallas, Texas, counsels people about simple and complex estate planning. By using wills and trusts, you can protect your family after your death, while remaining in control of important decisions during your life.
At the Law Offices of Jo Bess Jackson, P.C., we take the time to get to know each of our client’s hopes, concerns, and legal goals. It is only after this extensive process, that we recommend an estate plan to accomplish these objectives. For more information, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent people throughout North Texas, including Fort Worth, Plano, McKinney, and Denton. Please call (214) 219-2285.
Wills and Trusts – An Overview
A will is a written communication by which a person directs how his or her estate is to be distributed upon death. The estate consists of the property that one leaves behind after death. A trust is the legal right to the beneficial enjoyment of property to which another person holds the legal title. Wills and trusts are commonly used estate planning tools.
The advice and assistance of an experienced wills and trusts attorney at Law Offices of Jo Bess Jackson, P.C. in Dallas, Texas, are essential to making sure that the measures you choose comply with your state’s law and truly carry out your wishes.
Why Do I Need a Will?
Wills are the most basic element of estate planning. A will is a legal document that explains how you want your property and assets distributed after your death. It allows you to say who you want to carry out your wishes and provides you with the opportunity to nominate a guardian for your minor children.
A trust is a great estate planning tool for anyone who wants to avoid the costs associated with probate, decrease the amount of taxes paid at death and provide limitations on their young children’s ability to access money left to them.
A User’s Guide to Probate
Probate is the court-supervised process of winding up your affairs after death. Many people believe the smart thing to do is to avoid the costs and hassles of probate. Contrary to this popular belief, the probate of most estates runs smoothly. The court’s supervision ensures that any outstanding debts, taxes and claims against your estate are paid and that your remaining assets are divided among your heirs.
Death and Taxes: Planning for Both
When you die, the assets and property interests you leave behind minus any debts make up your estate. Whether your assets go through probate or you have set up alternative means for transferring your property, any estate or other taxes owed at the time of your death must be paid.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wills and Trusts
Q: What is probate?
A: Probate is a court process to determine the validity of a will. If the will is found valid, the personal representative named in the will (the executor) will gather the assets of the testator to be appraised. The representative will then contact creditors so they may present their claims for any amounts due. After payment of debts, taxes and administration costs, the remaining property will be distributed in accordance with the will. In a situation where this is no will, probate allows the court to direct the distribution of a person’s assets in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws.
Q: What assets are included in my probate estate?
A: Probate assets are what you own at the time of death. This includes any property with your name on the title. It also includes personal items such as collections, antiques, cars and the value of any life insurance policies, trusts, annuities and/or retirement plans payable to the estate. If you own any stocks, bonds or other investments, these also are included.
Wills and Trusts Resource Links
American Bar Association Estate Planning FAQs
Gateway resource providing users with information on estate planning, drafting wills, choosing trusts, types of nonprobate property, powers of attorney and more.
AARP® Estate Planning Page
This resource, provided by AARP®, includes articles discussing a variety of estate planning matters.
The Probate Process
This American Bar Association resource provides general information on the probate process, including information on the costs, how long the process takes and what types of estates pass through probate.
American Bar Association Family Legal Guide to Estate Planning
An introduction to the topic of estate planning. The website provides answers to commonly asked questions regarding wills, trusts, living wills and other estate planning tools.
SmartMoney®: Estate Planning
Provides information to consumers on the process of gathering information and documentation for estate planning.