How Much Does It Cost To Set Up a Living Trust?

Feb 23, 2024
Living Trusts

The most common choice you have when setting up an estate plan is the choice between a will and a living trust. A will triggers probate unless your estate falls below a minimum threshold of value. In many states, the minimum threshold is about $50,000.

It’s hard to compare the cost of a living trust vs. will. One of the primary 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 altogether. A living trust includes all of the necessary documents to complete an estate plan.

In the short term, a will would seem to be more economical. But think again: 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 approximately 8% of the gross value of your estate.  Even with a modest $300,000 estate, the probate related cost could run your estate $24,000, or more. Keep in mind that funds from the estate cannot be used while going through probate court. The cost of a living trust is far less than the cost of probate court and attorney fees. To understand the cost of probate, click here to use our probate calculator.

Consider that you are looking to create a plan to efficiently pass your home, savings and other assets that took a lifetime to create to your heirs. That is no small thing, and you should strongly consider working with an attorney that is sufficiently experienced in estate planning.

How Much Does It Cost To Set Up a Living Trust? | AmeriEstate Legal Plan

So, what does it cost to have a living trust prepared? The cost of creating a living trust is largely a function of an attorney's time. Meeting with an attorney is important in order to form a quality living trust that meets the goals you have for your estate and your heirs. The process involves providing education on your various options, completing a detailed fact-finding interview with the attorney, and a consultation phase where details of a plan can be discussed. Next follows the document drafting and review, delivery and execution with a notary. Finally, you must fund your trust, meaning the process of re-titling assets into the name of your trust.

The cost of preparing a living trust is typically the total number of hours spent creating the trust billed at the attorney’s normal rate. If you are working with an attorney who charges $250 per hour, then the cost of preparing your living trust will probably be about $2,500. If you are working with an attorney charging an average of $400 per hour, your trust will run closer to $4,000. One way to examine this is when interviewing an attorney, ask how much he or she charges to create a living trust. Then ask what the normal rate is for work billed hourly.

AmeriEstate Legal Plan offers somewhat of a hybrid approach. A new client is assigned a team help navigate through the trust creation 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, the types of decisions they will need to make, and help to uncover and document issues of importance to them and their families. In short, you are much better prepared to have an effective consultation with a licensed attorney who can skillfully guide you on finalizing the details of your particular plan. Our process still utilizes the average time it takes to craft a well-designed plan, saving you 30% to 50% of the fees an attorney would normally charge you. Our living trust portfolio also includes free notary service and a one year subscription to our legal plan (a $250 value).

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Using a traditional attorney compared to AmeriEstate Legal Plan:

Choosing a traditional attorney for estate planning comes with several disadvantages. Firstly, the cost considerations are significantly higher, as attorney fees typically range from $250 to $400 per hour, potentially leading to substantial expenses for preparing a living trust. The time and process involved in estate planning with a traditional attorney can be cumbersome, encompassing stages such as education on options, detailed interviews, consultations, document drafting, review, notarization, and asset re-titling. This intricate process may result in a time-consuming experience for clients. While traditional attorneys offer personalized guidance, the level of attention may vary, and clients might not consistently have a dedicated team guiding them through each phase of estate planning. Additional costs for value-added services, such as notarization, can further escalate the overall expense. Moreover, the experience and reputation of traditional attorneys can vary, leading to potential inconsistencies in service quality. Finally, customer support may be contingent on the workload of the attorney, potentially causing challenges in obtaining timely responses. Often estate planning firms are smaller. What happens when the attorney retires or falls ill?

Benefits of Choosing AmeriEstate Legal Plan:

In contrast to the disadvantages associated with traditional attorneys, AmeriEstate Legal Plan presents a host of benefits. Their more cost-effective approach offers savings ranging from 30% to 50% compared to traditional attorney fees, making estate planning accessible to a broader audience. AmeriEstate's streamlined process, averaging around 10 hours, not only reduces the time and effort required but also ensures the creation of a well-designed plan. The personalized guidance provided by a dedicated team, including experienced Trust Advisors, enhances the overall client experience, offering consistency and support throughout every phase of estate planning. AmeriEstate goes beyond by including free notary services and a one-year subscription to their legal plan in their living trust portfolio, providing added value without additional costs. With a proven track record of 25 years of experience and over 45,000 satisfied clients, AmeriEstate stands as a stable and reliable source of estate planning excellence. Emphasizing ongoing personal support and customer service, AmeriEstate ensures that clients can depend on continuous assistance and guidance throughout their estate planning journey. At AmeriEstate, we work with your heirs to create their own living trust so that their inheritance is protected.

Let’s Talk about Using a DIY Living Trust Service:

There are also quick and easy do-it-yourself options. The problem with these services is that the boiler-plate documents they provide for your use are very limited, and as they all say, “their services are no substitute for a real lawyer.” This disclaimer is important because they know that you do not likely have the knowledge, training and experience to foresee and plan the most effective estate plan for yourself. The most popular DIY trust services generally advertise a low entry price. However, when you include the necessary add-ons — which are vital as opposed to optional, and the costs associated with notarizing, preparing and recording deeds and other aspects of fully executing your trust, these DIY services will often run you more than you thought. Also, you have no recourse if something goes wrong. Since you are effectively acting as your own lawyer, there is no malpractice or errors and omissions insurance to protect you or your heirs if something goes wrong during the creation process.

While the affordability of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) living trust options may be enticing, there are significant drawbacks to consider. DIY living trust documents often provide generic, boilerplate templates that lack the necessary personalization to address the unique aspects of an individual's financial and familial situation. This limitation may result in an estate plan that fails to fully meet specific needs. Furthermore, the absence of legal professionals' expertise increases the risk of errors in document creation. Mistakes in trust documents or failure to adhere to legal requirements can lead to complications and potential legal challenges. DIY options also lack the comprehensive legal guidance necessary for navigating complex legal processes, leaving individuals to grapple with the intricacies of estate planning without proper expertise. Additionally, the seemingly low entry prices advertised by DIY services may mask the accumulation of additional costs for necessary add-ons, such as notarization, deed preparation, and recording, ultimately exceeding the initial cost. Individuals acting as their own legal representatives have no recourse for errors or omissions, lacking malpractice or errors and omissions insurance. Furthermore, DIY services typically offer limited ongoing support, leaving individuals without assistance when facing changes in their financial situation or evolving legal requirements.

Why AmeriEstate Legal Plan Might be a Better Choice:

AmeriEstate Legal Plan offers a comprehensive solution that addresses these concerns. The personalized approach of AmeriEstate, guided by experienced Trust Advisors, ensures that the estate plan is tailored to the individual's unique circumstances, providing a level of personalization that DIY options lack. The risk of errors is significantly reduced, as clients benefit from the expertise of AmeriEstate's team of professionals who are well-versed in estate planning. This expert guidance minimizes the potential for legal issues down the line. AmeriEstate's commitment to providing ongoing support is evident through its emphasis on ongoing personal support and customer service. Clients can depend on assistance throughout the life of their estate plan, ensuring they have the necessary support to navigate changes in their financial situation or evolving legal requirements. Additionally, AmeriEstate includes free notary services as part of its living trust portfolio, eliminating the need for clients to incur additional costs for essential services and enhancing the overall value of the estate planning process.

In certain circumstances, engaging with an estate planning attorney becomes imperative. These situations include having a sufficiently large estate that may incur state or federal estate taxes, necessitating specialized planning. Individuals desiring precise control over inheritances, whether to family members, charities, or ensuring a minor child's preferred guardianship, benefit from the personalized guidance of an attorney. Additionally, those seeking to establish trusts alongside a will, health care directive, and power of attorney, or dealing with complexities such as owning property in multiple states or countries, running a business, or addressing specific legal requirements from prenuptial agreements or divorce judgments, find the tailored advice of an attorney invaluable.

In the end, with AmeriEstate Legal Plan you get expert guidance, professional liability protection, and ongoing personal support and customer service to benefit both you and your heirs in the living trust price. You can depend on the stability of a company in business for 25 years — we are the most experienced single source of estate planning excellence in the state, having served more than 45,000 satisfied clients to date.

Contact AmeriEstate for a free consultation and living trust quote.