Living Trust vs. Will Pricing
The most common choice you have when setting up an estate plan is the choice between a Will and a Living Trust. Generally, a Living Trust, produced by an attorney, ranges in price from $2,000 to $4,000. The Trust includes all documents required to establish the Trust, powers of attorney, both financial and healthcare-related. In California, a Will typically ranges from $400 to $700.
These are only estimates; legal fees vary based on the attorney and the circumstances. Rates will differ depending on the state in which you live and the complexity of your situation. Rates for individuals are often lower than for a married couple.
One of the benefits of a Living Trust is that it allows your estate to be managed and distributed by your chosen successor trustee and avoid the probate process. When your estate goes through probate, as most often happens when you have chosen a Will, the costs of the probate administration will usually run between 5% to 10% of the gross value of your estate. Even with a modest $200,000 estate, the probate-related cost could run your estate $10,000 to $20,000.
Cost of an Attorney-Guided Living Trust
The cost of preparing a Living Trust is mostly a function of an attorney's time. To have a quality Living Trust developed that meets your goals, it should take about 10 hours in total time. The process involves:
- Providing education on your various options
- Completing a detailed fact-finding interview with the attorney
- Discussing details of a suitable plan, document drafting, and review
- Funding your Trust, meaning the process of retitling assets to your Trust
- Delivering and execution with a Notary
Attorney fees typically range between $200-$400 per hour, so the cost for an attorney-guided Living Trust is between $2,000 to $4,000.
The Do-it-Yourself Option
Today there are also internet-based, do-it-yourself options springing up. The problem with these services is that the boiler-plate documents they provide for your use are limited, and you may not have access to an attorney to review your specific issues.
The most popular DIY trust services advertise a low entry price. Still, when you include the necessary add-ons and the costs associated with notarizing, preparing, and recording deeds and other aspects of fully executing your Trust, these DIY services will often add up to more than $1,000. And, you have no recourse if something goes wrong. Since you are effectively acting as your lawyer, there is no malpractice or errors and omissions insurance to protect you or your heirs if the plan fails for any number of reasons.
The AmeriEstate Approach: Proven. Affordable. Complete.
AmeriEstate Legal Plan offers a hybrid approach. Every new client is assigned a team to guide you through the process. Experienced trust advisors skillfully educate you on the basic options you have in creating an estate plan and conduct the initial consultation to review each of the choices you will be making and prepare a detailed fact finder for you and the attorney. This process has proven to give clients a better framework for understanding the core strategies for their estate planning, understanding the types of decisions they will need to make, and helping to uncover and document issues of importance to you and your family.
Our intake process leaves you better prepared to have a productive consultation with a licensed attorney who can skillfully guide you on finalizing the details of your particular plan. Our process still utilizes the ten hours it takes to craft a well-designed plan, both forward-facing with you and behind the scenes. The difference is that using our team-oriented process blends non-attorney experts as well as a personal attorney saving you 30% to 50% off of the fees another attorney would typically charge you.