While estate planning and asset protection planning are related, they are not the same.  An asset protection plan is designed principally to protect your assets from creditors during your lifetime.  It can also be designed to protect assets you leave to your spouse, children and other family members.

An estate plan is focused more on how you want your assets distributed after your death.  Estate planning involves other considerations as well (including Powers of Attorney; Health Care documents; minimizing estate taxes; etc.).  But the central focus of estate planning is distribution of your assets following your death.

Assets can be well protected from creditors but still included in your gross estate for federal estate tax purposes.  For example, funds in your 401(k) account are well protected from creditors.  But these funds will be included in your gross estate for federal estate tax purposes.  The point here is that even though you have an asset protection plan, you may still need an estate plan review, and vice versa. 

Asset protection planning and estate planning are clearly interrelated.  But I have learned that many individuals have a rather sophisticated estate plan (often carefully designed to minimize estate taxes); but that plan may do little or nothing to shield assets from creditors.  Many individuals would benefit from consulting with an asset protection lawyer even if they already have a good estate plan.