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When thinking about an estate plan, a lot of people consider whether a trust is needed, or a will by itself is fitting. The option is often established by cost. If an attorney is hired, a trust may be substantially more expensive than a will. The important thing is finding harmony between the cost and creating an estate plan that benefits your family.
According to LegalZoom, “Attorney’s fees are generally the bulk of the cost associated with creating a trust. The cost for an attorney to draft a living trust may range from $1,000 to $1,500 for individuals. The cost for an attorney to draft a living trust may range from $1,200 to $2,500 for married couples. These are only estimates; legal fees vary based on the attorney and the circumstances.”
A living trust is a legal matter that deals with assets and holds title to a predetermined beneficiary. A living trust is different from other trusts because you, being the grantor, may make modification to the trust or abolish it altogether as long as you are alive. It also enables you to act as the primary trustee of your living trust. Living trusts are typically used to stay away from the probate process that comes along with transferring property using a will. Since assets are not owned by you, but the trust, they transfer by the conditions of the trust when you die, not needing probate.
Hiring an Attorney
Trusts are complex papers and estate planning lawyers are able to guide you through the legal subtleties. Attorney costs are usually the majority of the expense related to drafting a trust. The cost for a lawyer to draft a living trust can range from $1,000 to $1,500 for individuals and from $1,200 to $2,500 for those that are married. Legal fees are based on the lawyer and the situation. Rates might vary depending on the state you live in. The cost to hire an attorney to draft a trust may be 5 to 6 times that of creating a will.
Titling Assets to the Trust
With the aim of passing through the trust and avoiding probate, assets need to be retitled in the name of the trustee. For example, if you want to put your home into the trust, you need to modify the deed so that the trust is now owner. When the deed is modified, it needs be documented with the registrar of deeds, and is prone to the same fees as any real estate exchange. The fees will differ from state to state. Check with the local registrar of deeds for your state’s fees related to a deed transfer. If you hire an attorney or not to create your living trust, you’ll be accountable for the cost of titling assets to the trust.
Living Trust as Part of an Estate Plan
If you think that hiring an attorney is best for you, you’ll likely get most bang for your buck than only the living trust. Living trusts are usually used as part of a complete estate plan that might include wills, health care directives and POA. You need find out precisely what is included in the fee before consenting to any proposal. For example, is the expense of creating a new deed to add real assets to the trust included? Do the fees include asset retitling?
- Rondinelli-Haberek, Regan. “What Is the Average Cost to Prepare a Living Trust?” LegalZoom Legal Info, 21 Nov. 2017, https://info.legalzoom.com/average-cost-prepare-living-trust-26932.html.
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