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Reasonable cost for a Revocable Living Trust in NC

Discussion in 'Estate Planning, Creating Wills & Trusts' started by KIRA_LLC, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. KIRA_LLC

    KIRA_LLC Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    North Carolina
    My wife and I are looking to get a revocable living trust established and here are some of the details.
    We own a home together. We both have 3 retirement accounts each. A joint equities account. Additionally my wife has started a rental property company in which she has purchased 3 rental homes all in her name with looking at purchasing more once we get our legal plan in place. We were quoted a rough quote of 2500-3500 to establish a trust and that seemed really high to me. Legal zoom seems like it would be a much cheaper option but I don’t believe that they could cover the complexity of our trust. If that seems like a reasonable quote can someone explain the reason for the cost. I’m not trying to be a penny pincher but also not trying to be wasteful either.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Based on what you've described, the range of $2,500 to $3,500 seems pretty reasonable to me. You're really not in the "do-it-yourself" demographic.
     
  3. KIRA_LLC

    KIRA_LLC Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Can you explain what goes into that kind of fee? Maybe I’m oblivious to what goes into generating a living trust. I just don’t see why that high of a charge for a document.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The huge printing presses of a major newspaper began malfunctioning putting the revenue for advertising that was to appear in the Sunday paper in jeopardy. None of the technicians could track down the problem. Finally, a frantic call was made to the retired printer who had worked with these presses for over 40 years. “We’ll pay anything; just come in and fix them,” he was told.


    When he arrived, he walked around for a few minutes, surveying the presses; then he approached one of the control panels and opened it. He removed a dime from his pocket, turned a screw 1/4 of a turn, and said, “The presses will now work correctly.” After being profusely thanked, he was told to submit a bill for his work.

    The bill arrived a few days later, for $10,000.00! Not wanting to pay such a huge amount for so little work, the printer was told to please itemize his charges, with the hope that he would reduce the amount once he had to identify his services. The revised bill arrived: $1.00 for turning the screw; $9,999.00 for knowing which screw to turn.



    (I have no idea who the author of this particular version of the story is...)
     
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  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Agree.

    Moreover, and depending on the reason(s) why the wife took title to the properties only in her name, it might be advisable to create two (or more) separate trusts.

    If you're paying the lawyer on an hourly basis, you're going to pay $200-600 per hour (there are attorneys who charge less and some who charge much more, but I'd say 90% are probably in that range). If you're paying $300 per hour, then $2,500-3,500 buys you 8 1/3 to 11 2/3 hours. In the case of preparing a trust, attorneys typically have standard forms that they modify to fit each unique situation. While you will get the benefit of not having your document written from scratch, the attorney is going to bill you SOMETHING for the work that went into the document. Additionally, it's not just drafting the document. There's time for meetings and/or phone calls with you. The lawyer will need to obtain legal descriptions for the properties and prepare deeds to transfer them into the trust's name. The quote might also include other estate planning documents like a pour over will, healthcare directives, etc. There's more, but I think that gives you an idea. At the end of the day, there's nothing wrong with asking the attorney to explain the quote.
     
  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The OP should also ask what kind of assistance is available for funding the trust (changing the titles/deeds, etc., as may be needed).

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm talking about the legwork, not the document preparation.
     
  7. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    I paid about $3000 for the combination of a living trust, a will, and advanced medical directives a few years back.
     

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