If you are considering setting up a trust, you are most likely wondering how much it will cost you. Unfortunately, the standard lawyer answer is “it depends.”
Trust cost when working with an attorney
The cost can vary widely depending on the nature of your assets, the terms you want to set up for the trust, successor trustee arrangements, and whether there need to be special needs provisions for certain beneficiaries.
The most simple trust agreement will run at least $1,500. It can be just one “joint” trust agreement for spouses if the terms suit that arrangement.
More complex trust agreements can run several thousand dollars, plus the cost of preparing documents to transfer assets into the trust. Transferring assets, however, is an essential step in the process, and should not be neglected despite the extra cost.
These costs may seem high, but there are significant potential savings down the road by probate avoidance or other transfer-on-death expenses. Many times, the initial cost of setting up a trust offsets by the likely cost of probate. The trust can also make passage of assets much simpler and more private than probate.
DIY Trust Cost
The standard warning applies here, "let the buyer beware". There are forms online for DIY trust agreements, and if a person is very savvy, these might be sufficient. However, the danger is if the trust agreement is not done correctly, and transfers to the trust are not made, you will not have saved any time or money. The probate process or some variation thereof will still be required.
As an attorney with 40+ years of experience, I have seen a large number of DIY trust agreements that were not legally adequate and failed to accomplish any intended purpose. In some instances, the DIY route can create more problems and expense down the line than if nothing were done at all.
This is one time where it’s better to be safe than sorry to spend the money to do it right.
To get a better idea of the information we will need to help you discuss whether a trust is a good legal move for you, download our free trust questionnaire.
If you are considering setting up a trust and would like to discuss your needs and the likely cost, please contact Adair M. Buckner to schedule a free initial consultation.