Living Trust Cost
How much should your “living trust” cost?
Nothing … if you DIY. But … not really a good idea.
As Abraham Lincoln said: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client“.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to create a living trust, but you certainly do need to know enough about the basic elements and language (terms) that must be included.
So … how much should a living trust cost?
Like most things in the law … it depends.
If you hire an attorney, then there will usually be an unwritten rule on what an average flat rate would be. Of course, this varies greatly, depending on the community where you live, the experience of the attorney, whether the inexperienced attorney you hire – wrongfully charges the same as an experienced attorney, etc.
You can most likely find cut-rate fees (usually associated by default with cut-rate service), but the best advice is to “shop it around”. Call at least three lawyers. Ask them all the questions you can about creating your living trust and, especially, their fees. After you’ve made several calls, one of the lawyers should stand out as someone you have confidence and trust in. Hopefully.
But don’t make these calls until you’ve read all of the pages of this website (Living Trust Advocate), because the information you’ll gain here will arm you with sufficient knowledge to ask intelligent questions and be better able to select a lawyer.
Having given these disclaimers, generally speaking, fees will probably begin around $1,200. Some may charge up to $5,000. Beware of an attorney who says the normal flat fee is $5,000, but “we’re running a special for $2,500, but it ends today”. Yea, right. Don’t get suckered.
Most attorneys have a “boiler plate” living trust “template”. Almost every client’s trust will have the same boiler plate language. There’s nothing wrong with this. Certain boiler plate clauses are usually relevant and necessary for every trust. “No-contest” clauses, for example. Almost every client wants to make sure that his/her trust can’t be challenged by a disgruntled family member who was intentionally disinherited. A no-contest clause states that any one who contests the trust will be automatically disinherited.
What’s unique about each client’s trust, however, will be (1) the selection of “successor trustees”, (2) the assets to be owned by the trust, and (3) who the beneficiaries will be. These matters will take up most of the time that the attorney will devote to creating the trust.
What you’re really paying for is the attorney’s time to hold your hand, walk you through the process and answer all of your questions. And that’s valuable.
But what if you’ve read all of this website’s pages, and now have a pretty good general understanding of living trusts. You’re not fool enough to do-it-yourself, but you’re wondering if there’s a viable alternative to spending over a thousand bucks to hire an attorney.
There’s a mantra throughout this website: If money’s no object, then by all means hire an attorney to prepare your living trust.
But if money is a concern, and you’d like to save $1,000 or more, then consider a cost-effective solution that still gives you a quality, legally enforceable living trust – for a fraction of the cost charged by an attorney.
Please first read the articles located throughout this website. Then, if you’re interested in learning more about a cost-effective alternative, click here.