What Does a Bank Require When Opening a Trust Account?

A trust account holds money designated in a trust agreement for a specific person or group, such as the beneficiary of an estate. If you're the trustee for your father's estate, for instance, you'll put funds in a trust account until they are properly disbursed. Generally you'll use this account to pay bills and give funds to trust beneficiaries.

Have the Trust Agreement

You'll have to give the bank a copy of the agreement creating the trust and naming you as the trustee. If it's a living or revocable trust, you normally will be the trustee and will open the account in your name as trustee. If it's an irrevocable trust, the account will be in the name of the trust, with you as the trustee.

Identify Yourself as Trustee

You will have to provide personal identification to show you are the designated trustee. For an irrevocable trust, you will need to get a tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service and give that to the bank along with the trust agreement. You usually can use your Social Security number for identification on a living trust, which you control during your lifetime.

Paperwork and Funding

You'll also have to complete all account documents in the name of the trust and make an initial deposit. This can be personal funds for a living trust or money designated by the originator or grantor of an irrevocable trust. If the irrevocable account is set up after the death of the grantor, the funds will come from the estate.

Create a Personal Trust

You can create a simple personal trust without a formal agreement, but only for small amounts. This is called a Totten or payment on demand trust. You fill out a bank's account form listing the account in your name but "in trust for" some beneficiary. At your death, the account passes to the beneficiary. This type is usually limited to accounts under $20,000 and not all states allow such trust accounts.


About the Author

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.