If figuring out the price of a car is tough, try setting up a trust. Published fee schedules offer some guidance, but since each firm includes different things, it's like comparing poodles with pigs. The kind of deal you get depends on how much money you have, the complexity of the assets, and how badly the trustee wants your business. And so much is negotiable.
There may be times when you would prefer to have a trust company manage the assets in your trust rather than relying on a family member. The ins and outs of large trusts are complex, so professional help might be necessary in certain situations.
Many financial services companies have trust departments that offer this service. However, the price for managing these trusts is not always clear.
Generally, the costs depend on how much the assets in the trust are worth. The more assets, the greater the cost to manage the trust.
Trust companies do not always make it easy to understand what the total cost is though. Some offer one flat cost to handle everything while others add a lot of fees to handle things like tax preparation and other basic trust administration details.
The key thing to remember is that almost all of the costs are negotiable. If the company wants your business bad enough, they will be willing to negotiate on their fees.
Barron's has more on the fees in a recent article titled "Trust Costs Go Up; Get Ready to Negotiate."
Consider having your estate attorney go over the costs of trust management with you. Your attorney can help you find the right deal.
Attorneys are also good negotiators, so he or she can negotiate on your behalf with trust companies to make sure that you get a better arrangement.