Your questions are excellent. But they require a 2 way conversation with a lawyer. It's just too hard to give any kind of advice to you given that we don't know what your non-profit intends to do, whether it will have paid members, whether it will be a federal non-profit (501(c) qualifed organization), a private foundation. And so on.
I would recommend that you call the Bar Assocation in your city/town and ask for a referral for a non-profit lawyer. Alternatively, just google "nonprofits" and start reading.
You really do have several issues to address, as set forth in the previously response to your question. Specifically, you have state law issues (regarding the filing/formation of the nonprofit organization/trust) and the federal tax issues (so that contributions to the entity can be deductible for tax purposes). I also recommend that you consult with an attorney. However, I recommend that attorney be experienced in both forming the nonprofit organization (trust or corporation) and dealing with the tax issues (including the preparation and filing of IRS For 1023). It is my experience that the organization and set up of the entity, including assistance with the preparation of the 1023, will cost between $4,000 and $10,000, depending upon the structure, attorney, and a number of other facts.
In addition to these set-up costs, you will need to make sure that you have assigned the responsibility to care for annual tax filings for the new nonprofit. Penalties are not fun or easy to deal with in a nonprofit.
You will likely be able to find an attorney who will offer you a free initial consult.
Best of luck with your new endeavor.