Living Trust Costs and Fees

I’ve been reviewing an estate and trust accounting prepared by another attorney, and in doing so, it occurs to me that I have not discussed trust administration fees in Florida.

One of the supposed advantages of a living trust is to avoid probate; as I note elsewhere a living trust can actually trigger a probate in Florida:

Why revocable living trusts usually won’t avoid probate in Florida

Aside from that fact, what is usually implied but unstated in the ” a living trust avoids probate” argument is that a living trust will avoid attorney’s fees in administering it after the grantor dies. Or, at least, that there will be a significant savings in lawyers fees.

Maybe, but probably not; at least in Florida. The relevant statute on attorneys fees for trust administration, Florida Statutes § 736.107 sets the ‘reasonable’ attorney fee for administering a trust after death of the grantor at 75% of the preemptively reasonable fee for handling an estate of the same size. Is 25% a ‘significant’ savings? I don’t know; but I suspect it is not nearly as much of a savings as many people expect; the point being that sometimes people seem to expect that there won’t be any costs or expenses associated with a trust; that is not necessarily the case. And, given that a trust might actually trigger a probate, it is possible that you could incur both probate and trust administration fees. What is this going to cost? To be honest, it will depend on the exact facts. But be aware that having a trust may not result in the savings that you expect after your death.

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