There are several reasons why you might be interested in setting up a trust account. You've worked hard and built up your net worth, but the reality is that someday you will pass away and you want to make sure that your family is taken care of and that the money you leave them is used responsibly. You may wish to open a trust account for a new baby in the family or to provide for the care of an elderly or ailing family member. Whatever the reason, you'll need to bring some basics to the bank when opening your new trust account. Being prepared can help you get your trust account set up as quickly and smoothly as possible.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
When opening a trust account, you'll need to bring the bank your ID, your initial deposit and copies of all the legal paperwork associated with the trust.
Have the Trust Agreement
Because a trust is a legal agreement, you'll need to bring the legal paperwork that created the trust and that names you as the trustee. Depending on the type of trust that you and your lawyers create, the account will likely be set up with a trustee designation. If you are the trustee, this will include your name. It will also include language indicating for whom the trust is intended, and it may also include the name of a beneficiary who would assume control of the assets if the trustee passes away.
Identify Yourself as Trustee
Your bank will require you to provide personal identification to show you are the designated trustee. Depending on the type of trust, this could range from a driver's license to copies of certain tax records. Call your bank and ask what documents they require in advance so that you arrive prepared when setting up your trust account. If you are not the trustee, some banks will act as trustee of an account for a fee, but most banks require that the trust have a significant minimum balance before it will act as trustee.
Paperwork and Funding
The biggest part of setting up a trust account is filling out and signing trust documents and making the initial deposit. The initial deposit can be funds that you personally deposit while you are living, or it can be money that will originate from a life insurance payment or other expected windfall. If there is not any money dedicated to funding the trust, the trust will have no power. Money that will go into the trust as part of an estate must be specifically delineated in the will. Otherwise, that money will not be moved into the trust.
Bea is a personal finance and legal writer based in Texas.