When you decide to take on a big task involving something that is new to you it can be difficult to get started because you are entering the realm of the unknown, and for most people estate planning fits this description.
But it is said that the proverbial journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, so all you can do is roll up your sleeves and get started using common sense as your guide. When you look at the general picture estate planning involves preparing your assets for distribution to your heirs, and to do that you have to know exactly what is that you have to give. Therefore, inventorying your assets would be a good first step. This can be a rather involved task if you endeavor to do it comprehensively, but it is a necessary one nevertheless.
Giving is a two-way street so once you decide what it is that you want to give you have to figure out who you want to give it to. It is important to evaluate your list of potential heirs and ask yourself not only what you want to give to them but how best this can be achieved. Each person is different, and though financial resources certainly provide security a large windfall of money that comes all at once before you are ready to handle it can sometimes do more harm than good in the long run.
Once you know what it is that you have to give and have a feel for how you’d like to distribute it the best course of action would be to arrange for a consultation with an estate planning attorney. As a layperson you would have no reason to know about all of the financial instruments that are available to you, and it’s unlikely that you have any experience with the probate laws in your jurisdiction. Estate planning involves the execution of some very sensitive legal documents and this is clearly something that is best done by a licensed elder law attorney.