Estate Planning with Wills

Most people know about wills and their basic purpose – to ensure that one’s assets go to the right beneficiaries when they pass away. However, wills can be used for much more than simply distributing your assets. Here’s a list of some of the valuable things that a will can do:

  • List who gets what:

The most common purpose for a will is to name which individual, group of individuals, or charities, will receive particular property belonging to a person when he or she passes away.

  • Name guardians for children:

A will is the document that allows parents to nominate a guardian to raise their children if something should happen to him or her. The will may also contain at least one alternate In the event that their first choice cannot serve.

  • Naming executors and trustees:

A will usually states who will be the executor of an estate, which is the person who will carry out a deceased individual’s wishes listed in the will. Wills can also name the trustees of any trusts established in a will, which is the person who will be in charge of carrying out the instructions of the trusts.

  • Establish trusts:

In many cases, a person may not want someone to receive all of the property that they are inheriting at once. Or a person may want the beneficiary to be able to use the property for a while, and then pass it on to someone else. In 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 money until the children reach the age that the 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. Trusts can help accomplish that goal.

  • Tax planning:

Wills can be great tools for tax planning in order to reduce or possibly eliminate federal or state estate or inheritance taxes. This can sometimes be accomplished through setting up various trusts.

  • List funeral wishes:  

Although this is also done in other documents too, a will commonly states whether an individual wants to be buried or cremated, and where the body should be buried or the ashes should be spread. Sometimes, wills contain other information about funeral wishes too like where it should take place and even what readings might be recited.


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


McClellan Legal LLC is located in Kennett Square and serves clients throughout the areas of Avondale, Chadds Ford, Coatesville, Downingtown, Landenberg, Oxford, Phoenixville, Pottstown, West Chester, & West Grove.

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113 South Broad Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348
| Phone: 610-444-5552

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