What is really the first step in forming a trust? I know getting an attorney would probably be the quickest route but I presume that there must be a standard form or format available to us "po" folks to make it easier.
A standard form won't cut it, at least not in the long run. You might get your trust through, but when it comes time for distribution, you could run into problems (e.g., illegal transfers). Most standard form trusts don't take into account NFA transfer restrictions, possession issues, and other nuances. Be careful.
Obviously an attorney created trust is the best route, but some can overcharge. If it costs more than $200-$300 for an NFA trust, I think you're being overcharged (that flat rate is what I typically charge).