How Much Does a Trust Cost?

The short answer is: It depends. Be wary of anyone who is willing to quote you a price without knowing you or the nature of your estate. We will meet with you for free at an introductory meeting to determine what type of estate plan you want, then we will quote you a flat fee, so you know how much your estate plan is going to cost you.

To work properly, a trust should be specific to your needs, not a “fill in the blank” or “one trust fits all” that may be available for a cheap price. While it is possible that these cheap “fill in the blank” trusts might work, it is also possible that they are too general in nature and will not adequately protect you or your assets. The unguided use of such forms might, if you are lucky, result in avoiding probate with some of your property, but it will more likely result in added legal fees for court interpretation of vague legal terms, added taxes, and added costs in the estates of beneficiaries.

When you consider the tens of thousands of dollars in savings that can definitely – not maybe – be saved through the use of a professionally drafted and funded trust, properly coordinated with the rest of your estate plan, it is silly and reckless to try to do it yourself with the help of forms you know nothing about prepared by someone who is not a lawyer.

As part of your estate plan, in addition to a Trust, we will also prepare a Pour-Over Will, which works in conjunction with your Trust. Certain assets which were left out of your Trust can then be gathered up and “poured over” into your Trust after your death. Additionally, as part of your estate plan, we will also make sure you are protected with appropriate powers of attorney and medical directives which will protect you in the event of illness or disability.

Even though you may already have a Will, all of your property may not automatically pass under it.  Some of your property may pass outside your will by reasons of joint title, survivorship provisions, pay-on-death clauses, and beneficiary designations on deeds and contracts.

After creating a Trust, we will help you to fund your Trust by identifying assets that you desire to make a part of the Trust. Funding a Trust is critically important because a Trust only applies to those assets inside the Trust. Additionally, one of the important lifetime benefits is realized if you become disabled. If that happens, for jointly held securities or real estate, at least one-half of the value of the joint property would be “frozen,” and a sale would not be allowed until the probate court appointed a guardian or conservator for you. But, if you had this property placed in a living trust, no court action would be necessary, and your property would be immediately accessible by the trustee to provide for your care and treatment.

For a trust to be effective in avoiding probate and minimizing taxes, your assets must be placed inside the trust. Assets may include bank accounts, real estate, motor vehicles, stocks and bonds, life insurance, and retirement benefits. We will help you determine which assets should be placed inside your Trust as part of your estate plan.

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