An estate plan requires careful thought and preparation. In fact, it may take an average of 12 to 14 months to develop one, says David Kohl, professor of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech.

With that in mind, it might be a good idea to develop a transition team to help you formulate your estate plan. Include an accountant, a lawyer, a financial planner, a lender and a facilitator on the team. Since the process may take a year or longer, consider putting the whole group on a retainer instead of hiring them on an hourly basis, Kohl suggests.

And, encourage your facilitator to ask tough questions as the group works its way through the process. Doing so will help you develop a more thoroughly thought out plan.