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After reading all of y'all's replies I went digging into the filing cabinets. My parents had a Living Trust. After my mother's death, the estate was split, creating a Survivor's Trust and a Decedent's Trust. After my father's death, the estate was divided into two PATs. I have a Personal Asset Trust and so does my brother. The beneficiary(ies) I named will receive their own PAT from my estate after my death.

Add me in to the camp of never having heard of a Personal Asset Trust. Frankly, it sounds like something gimmicky some financial planner group thought up.

From your description, I'm going to stick my neck out and say that you need to file a tax return for the trust as long as the assets are in that trust. You didn't put the money into the trust - your parents did. So you are not the grantor of the trust. I think that means it's not a grantor trust that can be ignored for tax purposes.

The CPA who has done my taxes for 20 years must be close to 90 years old or past that milestone. My brother did find someone younger to do our complicated 2012 taxes but the charge per tax return is more than twice the amount the 90 year old charged per tax return.

My guess is that your old (both figuratively and literally!) accountant never kept his fees up to market rates. The accountant your brother found is probably closer to market rates. While fees for tax prep vary significantly by region, as a data point for you I can say that I'd charge a minimum of $400 for a trust return and $300 for the beneficiary's return. I'm probably on the low side of the general market here in Southern California.

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