Step 1. Deciding what you want. Do you want your grandchildren to have a college Trust? Do you want to make sure your favorite charity isn’t left out? Write down your goals regardless of how practical or plausible you believe they might be.
Step 2. Inventory what you have. Develop a list of everything you own, both as an individual and with your spouse or others. Write everything down, even if you don’t think you have the right to determine who receives the item if you die.
Step 3. Develop a plan. Once you know what you want and what you have, you can meet with your attorney to determine what options you have and what needs to be in your plan to meet your goals.
Step 4. Execute the plan. Once you’ve identified the documents you want to create and the steps you need to take to carry out each element of your plan, you need to work with your estate planning attorney to start creating each element. Many elements will be created by your attorney for your review, but you’ll have to give final approval.
Step 5. Periodic reviews. Your wishes may change, your desires may change, the laws may change and your needs may change. Regardless of what happens, you should be prepared to periodically review each element of your estate plan so it meets all your needs and desires in accordance with all relevant laws.