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How much does it cost to create and maintain a trust?

The cost of creating and administering a trust can vary considerably, depending on its type and duration. A lawyer's fees to create a trust, for example, will usually be based on the time involved in consulting with you, and in planning and preparing documents. Therefore, before you hire a lawyer, you should discuss fees (for example, whether hourly or flat fees are charged). Ask for an estimate or arrange a written fee agreement.

A trustee's fee may vary with the skill and expertise the trustee offers. Charges may also be influenced by the size and complexity of the trust estate. This affects the nature and amount of services required, such as record-keeping, asset management and tax planning.

In addition to legal and trustee expenses, there may be accounting, real estate management or other service fees. Other common charges include annual, minimum, withdrawal and termination fees.

Costs are typically based on the complexity of the estate, the nature of the property involved, and to a lesser extent, its value, the amount and nature of the tax planning that is necessary, the amount of time the client will be spending with the lawyer, and the extent of "hand-holding", what the client will do on his or her own, and what the lawyer will do, the other documents involved (powers of attorney, deeds, health care powers), etc.

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