What are the ongoing annual costs of of maintaining a testamentary trust?
The ongoing annual costs of of maintaining a testamentary trust really depends on whether you rely on your accountant or the services of a professional trustee. Professional trustees can charge a percentage and an annual/ongoing fee which would definitely be the more expensive option. Otherwise, the costs of a reliable accountant vary depending upon their fees for taxation advice, compliance issues and the preparation of trust taxation returns. It may range from only a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars annually depending upon the accountant and the complexity of the work required.
For simple circumstances where only a tax return is required, you would be looking at approximately $300 - $500 in accounting costs per year. Some accountants will advise you that along with lodging a tax return it is important to keep financial statements, particularly if money is being borrowed from the trust. For a tax return and financial statements, you would expect to pay approximately $1,200 per year. Testamentary trusts that are managing large portfolios of investments such as shares with several million dollars or more, and that provide loans to family members among other complications, the work required by an accountant would be significant, so you would expect to pay a few thousand dollars in annual accounting fees. But most accounting costs for testamentary trusts would normally be in the $300 - $1,200 per year range.
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