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Broad, measured thinking out of the box promotes sound estate planning

"You own this."        

Those words might sound frightening to a would-be California estate planner, but they are actually meant to promote a feeling of empowerment rather than intimidation.

It is no secret that legions of individuals and families actually feel more stressed than enthusiastic when contemplating the creation of a sound and forward-looking plan. Many industry commentators underscore the hand wringing and hesitation of many people who simply feel overwhelmed with the process.

One financial adviser notes in a recent article that prospective planners have a reasonable right to feel enthusiastic far more than they do threatened about estate planning and administration.

Here's an off-the-top piece of advice that Kiplinger contributor Christopher D. Wright offers to people trying to kick start an estate plan: "Start your process broadly."

In a nutshell, that means damping down on the urge to simply charge in with a mindset focused narrowly on a single planning subset like tax mitigation or the equal distribution of wealth to the kids. There are many entry points in estate planning, and they need to be contemplated from an integrated rather than laser-like perspective.

Wright stresses that it can be invaluable for a planner to take a well-considered step back from the details at the outset of strategizing and simply "think about what you want to happen to your wealth and family legacy."

A proven professional in the legal and financial aspects of planning can help materially with that task, while properly emphasizing it as an exciting opportunity rather than a chore.

And that assistance can help promote the broad-based thinking and clarity required to - as noted above - truly own the planning process.

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