Estate Planning is often misunderstood by the average consumer. Most 'average' families believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. That is why a lot of advisors and companies are now using the phrase 'legacy planning', because everyone wants to leave a legacy.
One of the most common misunderstandings is that if you have less than a certain amount of money when you pass taxes aren't an issue. Federal estate taxes may not be but what about state, income, capital gains, etc. It is said that 2% of the population has an estate tax problem but 98% have an income tax problem!
Probate v. Beneficiary
Who is holding your money when you pass? Your family or the state you live in? Make sure that your heirs have the funds they need immediately upon your passing so that they are not burdened by expenses. A beneficiary clause may be more beneficial to your situation than spending a bunch of money on alternatives.
Will or Trust
Which is right for your family and your specific situation? While you should always consult an attorney, let us prepare you for the questions you should ask. There are definitely benefits to both and I don't think anyone who has planned ahead hasn't been better off!