If you are like most people, when you think about estate planning, you think about how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. While distributing your assets is undoubtedly one of the primary purposes – and perhaps even the primary purpose – of having an estate plan, it is by no means the only reason why it is important to have an estate plan in place.

Some of the other important reasons to prepare an estate plan include the following:

1. Appointing a Guardian for Your Minor Children

If you die before your children reach age 18, who will take care of them in your absence? If you do not make arrangements in your estate plan, the unfortunate reality under Texas law is that they may end up in foster care. To make sure you know and control who will take responsibility for raising your children should you no longer be around to do so, it is critical to appoint a guardian or consider an alternative to guardianship as part of the estate planning process.

2. Preserving Relationships Between Your Family Members

Whether it has to do with property, children or any of the other issues that can arise in the wake of an untimely death, without a clear plan to follow surviving family members will often end up in a dispute. While their dispute may not lead to litigation, emotionally-charged disagreements can often divide families and strain relationships to such an extent that things are never truly the same. By making sure you have a comprehensive estate plan that clearly communicates your final wishes, you can help your loved ones preserve their relationships and come together instead of creating new divides.

3. Arranging for Payment of Funeral and Burial Expenses

Another example of the type of issue that can lead to rifts among family members is making arrangements for funeral and burial expenses. For a variety of reasons, family members often have very different ideas about how their loved ones’ funerals should be handled and what is an appropriate amount to spend to honor their loved ones and put them to rest. To protect your family members from having to make these difficult decisions, the best thing you can do is take the process out of their hands.

4. Paying Your Debts

If there is a chance that you will leave behind debts, your estate plan should provide for payment of these debts as well. Do you need a life insurance policy to protect your loved ones? Which assets should your executor use to satisfy your obligations? These are just two of the many questions you will need to answer with regard to paying your debts during the estate planning process.

Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC

If you would like to speak with a lawyer about preparing or updating your estate plan, contact the law offices of Nordhaus Walpole PLLC for a free, confidential consultation. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced McKinney estate planning lawyers, please call (214) 726-1450 or send us a message online today.