When estate planning, a living trust can be a significant cost. Learn what it costs to set up a living trust from an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.
So what does a living trust cost to set up? A living trust can cost anywhere from probably two hundred dollars if you get a software program--maybe thirty five dollars if you get it from your brother-in-law, up to maybe twelve or fifteen thousand dollars if it's done by a highly qualified attorney. And so what's the difference in cost between a thirty-five dollar software borrow your brother in law's trust, and a fifteen thousand dollar trust drawn by a very highly qualified, very expert attorney. And the differences can be dramatic. And the consequences can be dramatic too. Things that are drawn up by software programs, things that are drawn up by salesmen--a lot of trusts are sold, frankly, door to door. And the people that are selling it door to door aren't trying to sell you a trust, they're really trying to sell you, typically, annuities, and they're going to use the trust as a way to get into your house, get you a trust, and sell you, frankly, fairly expensive annuities. The cost of setting up a trust is more than just the cost though--initially with setting up the trust. If it's not done correctly, by a highly qualified lawyer, then there are going to be a lot of expenses when you become incapacitated, and a lot more expenses when you die. And the problem, really, is you don't really know what those expenses are going to be. You really don't know what those problems are going to be, because whoever set this up for you--the salesman, the software, your brother-in-law, your CPA--really don't understand all the consequences of it. So, you can set up a trust very easily, you can set up a trust fairly inexpensively. But unless the trust is done correctly, and it has to be funded, which means it has to actually own your assets in addition to having it there, it's not going to work the way you expect, and you could be setting up a time bomb that's going to go off at the moment you're incapacitated, at the moment that you die.