There are people who do not concern themselves with estate planning because they are not extraordinarily wealthy. They assume that estate planning attorneys are only useful for high net worth individuals who are exposed to the estate tax.
The federal estate tax carries a 40% maximum rate in 2013, and the amount of the exclusion is $5.25 million. This does not mean that you have no reason to consult with an estate planning attorney if your assets do not exceed this amount.
Depending on your particular situation any number of courses of action could be appropriate. For example, people in certain professions are particularly vulnerable to lawsuits. These individuals should discuss asset protection strategies with an attorney.
There is also the matter of providing for the long-term. You may want to make assets available to your heirs incrementally rather than providing them with lump sum inheritances. There are different types of trusts that can accomplish this objective.
Probate is another thing to consider. It could be more convenient and cost-effective for your family to receive their inheritances if you arrange for future asset transfers in a way that does not involve the probate process.
These are just a handful of things to think about. Each individual is unique, and your circumstances and objectives are going to be different than those of the next person.
If you consult with a licensed estate planning attorney you can walk away with a tailor-made estate plan that perfectly suits your needs. Even if you are not a multimillionaire your family will certainly be grateful if you carefully craft an effective plan.