There are some standard costs to establishing a living trust – also known as a “living revocable trust”. However, depending on a few factors, the cost could vary.
What is a living trust?
As part of your estate planning, the documents in a living trust help to distribute your estate to your heirs upon your incapacitation or death. It is called a “living” trust because it is established while you are alive.
This written agreement is also often “revocable” – meaning that you can change terms and conditions of it as long as you are mentally competent.
What does a living trust do?
A living trust documents who should receive your assets if you are unable to use them, because of illness, injury, death, or some other condition. To best protect you, your assets, and the beneficiaries, the living trust also puts in place a neutral third party. This “third party” is someone you choose to act on your behalf to make decisions about your estate if you can’t.
This third person – the “trustee” – is the person you choose to manage your estate and your affairs if you are unable to do so. You can name any mentally competent adult to act as your estate’s trustee. And, you can choose multiple trustees who have to work together to agree on actions with assets inside the trust. A trustee can buy, sell, mortgage, or give away assets within the trust – they can fully manage the assets as if they were the owners.
Why get a living trust?
In case of illness, injury, or mental incapacity, you may not be able to manage your own affairs. You may not be in the proper condition to maintain, sell, buy, or divvy up your properties according to their best interests, and you may not be in a position to even choose someone on your behalf to do so.
When you’re planning your long-term estate management, a living trust is one of the best things you can do. Assure that no matter the situation you are in personally, your assets will be well-looked-after by someone you trust. A living trust can simplify the probate process on your death with plans to take care o your assets under every circumstance.
The costs of living revocable trusts
Funding the trust
First and foremost, consider how you are going to “fund” your estate. Your estate can be comprised of assets that already exist, and it doesn’t need to have an ongoing cost associated with it. Once the paperwork is in place and the trustee(s) are set up, the assets that are listed do not need to be added to, unless you see a reason to do so in the future.
Hiring an attorney
The costs for establishing a living revocable trust varies from state to state, depending on laws, and can also be affected by the size of the estate.
The national average cost for a living trust for an individual is $1,100-1,500 USD. The national average cost for a living trust for a married couple is $1,700-2,500 USD.
Part of the reason for this range in prices is the range of services that are available from various estate planning attorneys. Different attorneys may offer different protection or different documentation. Make sure that when you’re shopping for an attorney that you don’t consider cost as the most important factor.
The bottom line: Attorneys set up the best living trusts
The most important thing in establishing your living trust? Get the help of an estate planning attorney. Yes, you can download template documents yourself from some website, and yes, you could discuss the details with un-trained, un-professional friends or relatives, but – why risk it?
It’s your estate. Your assets. Everything you’ve worked hard for throughout your life. Don’t risk its protection with shoddy, incomplete, or incorrect paperwork. Hire an estate planning attorney who makes you ask more than simply “how much does a living trust cost?” Iinstead, hire an attorney who makes you ask, “What is the value of my living trust?”