How Much Does a Trust Cost?

three children confused wondering what a trust costs

The cost to create a revocable living trust can range from $0 to $10,000 depending on a variety of factors:

Although revocable trusts tend to cost more than last wills to create, they often save money on the back end by avoiding probate and its associated expenses.

How you create your revocable living trust

You can create your will by yourself, with the help of an estate planning attorney, or through a digital service like Just In Case Estates.

Bar graph showing cost to create a trust
You can create a revocable living trust with a digital service at a fraction of the cost of creating one with an attorney.

There is no legal requirement that you create a revocable living trust with an attorney. Unless you are already familiar with or plan to research your state’s trust laws, however, the time and energy exhausted by creating your trust independently are unlikely to be worth the savings.

Attorney-prepared revocable living trusts cost between $1,000 and $10,000. In addition to the other cost factors referenced in this article, expect to pay on the higher end of this range if you opt for a more experienced estate planning attorney, or if you live in a large metropolitan area.

Creating a revocable living trust with a digital service costs between $120 and $600, depending on which online trust maker you choose. Variance within that range is typically dictated by the level of customer support offered – no support, live customer support, or 1:1 review with a licensed attorney – as well as company-specific factors, such as the amount of money the company spends and must recoup on marketing or the target rate of return it seeks to deliver its investors.  

Whether you are creating a trust for an individual or a couple

Creating trusts for couples – two separate trusts or one joint trust – costs more than creating a single trust for an individual.

Digital providers tend to charge 20-30% more to complete trusts for couples compared to the price of a single individual trust, whereas attorneys often charge 30-50% more.

The complexity of your gifts

One of the primary advantages of a revocable living trust is that it provides you with greater control over the timing and condition of gift distributions compared to a last will. For example, you can specify in your revocable living trust that a beneficiary receive distributions only after attaining a certain age, upon completion of college, or so long as they continue to maintain a full-time job. You can also dictate that distributions be used only for certain allowable expenses, such as higher education, medical expenses, or to maintain a given standard of living.

As the number of your beneficiaries or the conditions on gift distributions increases, expect to pay more in drafting costs. Trust administration may also be a bit more expensive if your trust needs to continue to exist for a longer period of time.

The complexity of your assets

Different assets are funded into a trust in different ways, and some of the ways these titles change carry additional cost. For example, you may pay a small fee at the local town clerk or title company when changing the deed to your house. Transferring or assigning your stock ownership in a privately held company to your trust may incur some pass-through expenses from the company.

If you own a business, creating an effective estate plan may involve not just transferring ownership of the business to the trust, but also a more involved discussion around succession and continuity planning that requires the assistance and payment of various advisors.

How you fund your trust

A trust must be funded in order to be effective. Funding a trust simply means transferring ownership of assets to the name of the trust.

Our Guide to Funding Trusts walks through the process for funding different types of assets into a trust. The process is not particularly difficult, but it does take some time and coordination with multiple third parties.

If you need help funding your trust, you may incur some additional set up costs. Some financial and wealth advisors help their clients fund revocable living trusts as part of their base fee. If you ask your estate planning attorney to do it for you, you may need to pay for additional billable hours.

Is a revocable living trust worth it?

Choosing to create a revocable living trust or a last will is a personal decision driven by how you much value the advantages of a revocable living trust versus the higher setup and ongoing maintenance requirements.

As a general rule of thumb, if you own assets than $100k with a relatively simple asset structure, you probably don’t need a revocable living trust and may even qualify for an expedited small estate probate in your state. As your assets increase in value, the complexity of your assets increases, or you want greater control and privacy, a revocable living trust makes more sense.

If you need help deciding whether a revocable living trust or a last will is right for you, you can chat with our customer success team or see our recommendation by taking our estate plan quiz.