What Is a Trust Officer?

The trust officer implements the trust and maintains a relationship with trust clients.

The trust officer implements the trust and maintains a relationship with trust clients.

A trust officer works for a bank or financial institution and deals with the "trust fund" kind of trust, not the "just trust me" kind. If you are creating a trust or if you are the beneficiary of a trust, you will work with a trust officer from the institution where the trust funds are deposited.

Trust Instrument

A trust is used to give money to others over time. The creator of a trust funds it or provides for money to go into the trust after his death, and the trust is formed by a written document that explains who gets the money, how much they receive and how often it is paid to them. For example, a person might create a trust for his children and provide that the each child receives $10,000 a year, paid on the first day of each year.

Implementing the Trust

It is the trust officer who is responsible for making sure that the money in a trust fund is handled correctly as set out in the terms of the trust. The officer must maintain the money that was put into the trust by investing it and monitoring those investments. Liquidating or trading assets as needed and making payments to the beneficiaries when required by the trust are also responsibilities of the trust officer.

Serving as Fiduciary

This is a fiduciary role, meaning that the trust officer has a duty to the beneficiaries of the trust. The officer must keep current on tax and investment matters to administer the trust to the benefit of the client. No specific degree is required, but a trust officer usually has education and experience in law or finance, and he can earn a professional designation, such as Certified Trust and Financial Adviser, which shows that he has achieved a high level of knowledge in the field.

Maintaining a Client Relationship

The trust officer is the contact the beneficiaries can call with questions or to ask for a distribution from the trust. This individual is responsible for maintaining a relationship with the beneficiaries and handling the clients' needs. She also may help sales teams from the bank connect with the client to develop new business.

Complying with Regulations

The responsibility for maintaining the trust in accordance with applicable policies, laws and regulations falls to the trust officer. This means keeping proper paperwork; the trust officer's activities must be documented clearly to show all of his duties were fulfilled.

About the Author

Kelly Mroz has more than 12 years of experience as an attorney in family, business and estate matters. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she served as an associate editor for the "Journal of Law and Commerce." Mroz's work has also been published in the "Pennsylvania Family Law Quarterly."

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