Most people who aren't in the top 1 percent of earnings don't believe they have to worry about estate planning, but that isn't true, according to John McManus, founding principal of McManus & Associates in New York.

Even though individuals who earn between $250,000 and $1 million won't have to worry about paying federal estate taxes, since the exemption is $5.25 million, they still have to worry about state exemptions, which are all over the map.

In New Jersey, the state exemption for estate taxes is $675,000. In New York, that amount is $1 million. So before individuals breathe a sigh of relief about the federal exemption, first check into your state's policies regarding estate taxes.

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