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How Much a Living Trust Costs to Create in New York


Having a living trust as part of your estate plan lets you bypass New York’s probate process, saving money, time and trouble. However, setting up a living trust involves some time, trouble and cost as well. Many estate planners pay attorneys to create and fund a living trust. This can cost from $1,000 for a basic living trust to $10,000 or more for complicated trusts. You can also create a valid New York living trust for no cost using downloadable templates, or spend a few hundred dollars for a more personalized output with the help of a paid online tool. Talk to a financial advisor about your estate planning needs before deciding how you might use a living trust.

Basic Living Will Costs

If you choose to hire a New York attorney specializing in estate law to set up your living trust, expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 a basic revocable living trust. In exchange for this sum, the attorney or someone on their staff will question you about your situation, draft the appropriate paperwork and facilitate transfer of assets into the trust.

If you prefer doing it yourself, you can identify multiple online sources for downloadable fill-in-the-blank templates by searching on the Internet. These will let you create a New York living trust without paying anything. Some free websites also offer tools that guide you through the process, then let you download and print the completed paperwork. For as little as $249, you can tap an online tool that will provide a more customized interview and individualized trust documents.

Other Living Will Costs

The prices above are for a basic living trust that is revocable, meaning after you set it up you can change your mind and alter the terms of the trust, take back control of assets placed in the trust and even dissolve it altogether. An irrevocable trust, which requires giving up all future control of assets placed it and is harder to modify, costs more.

Expect to pay an attorney an average of $6,000 for an irrevocable living trust. The cost may range from $3,000 for a simple irrevocable living trust to $10,000 or more for a more complicated one. One factor that can make a trust more complicated is having to fund it with more than one transfer of property. Seeking to exclude a close relative from the list of beneficiaries can also increase the cost, because the trust paperwork may have to be altered to make it better able to resist any efforts by the excluded relative to challenge the terms of the trust.

You can create your own irrevocable trust for as little as $8 using downloadable templates. This will only provide you with the paperwork creating the trust, however. If you are funding the trust with real property, such as your home, you’ll have to transfer the deed and pay a filing fee to the county clerk. The filing fee generally comes to $125 for a residential or farm property and $250 for other property types. You’ll pay a few dollars more if you have the signatures notarized, although it will be valid if you and the trustee sign before two disinterested witnesses.

Additional Estate Plan Document Costs

A senior woman creating an estate plan online.

In addition to a living trust, a complete estate plan typically includes a number of other documents. Examples include wills and powers of attorney. Attorneys may offer bundled estate planning services, for $4,000 or so, that include a simple living trust as well as a will and powers of attorney. Online tools are typically a la carte. Here are typical costs if you pay per document:

  • Power of attorney. You will pay $35 or so to create one of these with an online estate planning tool, and you’ll often need two, one each for you and your spouse. Attorneys are likely to charge $250 per power of attorney or may include it as part of a bundle.
  • Living will: An attorney will charge about $500 to create a living will that isn’t part of a bundle. You can do it yourself with online tools for free.

Larger estates and more complicated estate plans can increase all these costs, sometimes by a wide margin. And creating your own living trust, while less costly than using an attorney, may not be a bargain if something is done incorrectly and the trusts are declared invalid or even have their validity challenged. Vague wording or failing to address a likely source of conflict can cause the process of settling an estate to cost far more in dollars than is saved by the do-it-yourself approach.

Bottom Line

A woman estimating the costs for drafting an irrevocable trust.

You can pay a New York attorney as little as $1,000 to create a simple living trust for you, or do the job yourself for free using downloadable templates and online tools. Creating an irrevocable trust for a large estate as part of a complex estate plan will cost you $3,000 to $10,000 or more if you use an attorney. You may be able to draft your own irrevocable trust documents with templates and tools for little or nothing. No matter how you do it, there are likely to be other costs including filing fees for property transfers.

Eastate Planning Tips

  • A financial advisor can provide you with insight and information about your options when you are deciding what you want to happen with your estate. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you live and work in the Empire State you can use SmartAsset’s New York paycheck calculator to estimate your income after federal, state and local taxes have been taken out.

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