I need to be rich in order to need an estate plan
An estate plan is for average people. An estate plan is needed if you have kids, want to gift money to organizations, charities, or friends, have $50,000 in assets in name alone, have real estate owned in name alone, and to [establish] estate tax liability.
If I have a will, my family will avoid probate
Not if you have more than 50,000 in assets or real estate. Probate is four month process at a minimum and means your family will incur an average of $2,000 in attorney’s fees, plus $500 in other filing costs. Additionally, probate notifies creditors and is public information.
I don’t have $5 million, so at least I won’t owe estate taxes
Minnesota only exempts assets up to $1.2 million (increasing to 2 million in 2018, and $200,000 increase each year) and if over1 million goes to someone other than your spouse it could be taxed at 9-16%. And don't forget, life insurance proceeds are included. An estate plan that includes a disclaimer trust is one option to avoid taxes.
My spouse and/or children will be able to make financial and health care decisions for me without any documents
Banking, legal and health care decisions require a power of attorney (POA) or a health care directive (HCD). Everyone over 18 needs a POA to make legal and financial decisions, and a HCD to talk to doctors, look at medical records, and make health care decisions.
Trusts are just for the ultra-wealthy
Trusts can be beneficial if own real estate in your name alone- whether you are young or old. Ultimately, having a trust means your estate can avoid probate, keeps your information private, insures there is no wait following your death, and allows you to determine flexible arrangements.