Banking Category Banking: the easy, simple banking guide

What does a bank require when opening a trust account?

Laws related to trusts vary from state to state, but whenever you create a trust, you produce a written trust document that explains the purpose of the trust and lists its assets.

In order to open a bank account for a trust you must first write a trust document. After you have written the trust you can open your account, but only if the bank's legal department approves the trust.


Trust laws vary from state to state, so you can only open a bank account for a trust if the trust you have written complies with trust laws in the state where you intend to open the account. You must provide the bank with a complete copy of the trust and the bank's legal department often require 24 hours to review the document and ensure that it complies with state law. If the bank approves the trust document, then you can open the account.

Tax Identification Number

When you open any kind of personal or non-personal bank account, you must provide the bank with a tax identification number (TIN) for the account. If you have a revocable trust, then from a tax perspective, you and the trust are one and the same.

Therefore, for a revocable trust account you must provide the bank with your own Social Security number. If you open any other kind of trust account, you must obtain a TIN for the trust entity from the Internal Revenue Service and provide that number to the bank at account opening.


A trust document must name someone as the trustee, and that person handles the day-to-day affairs of the trust, including its bank accounts. Each bank has its own procedures for identifying account signers, but most banks require account signers to identify themselves by producing a government-issued form of identification at account opening.

The trustee must provide ID at account opening and sign the signature card. The successor trustee, who takes over the trust if the trustee dies, does not have to show ID or take any part in the account opening. Likewise, the trust beneficiaries are not involved in the account opening process. You must also make a deposit by making a check payable to the trust or by depositing cash.

Pay-on-Death Beneficiaries

If you have not established a formal trust, you can still open a type of revocable trust account. You can establish a regular bank account under your own name by providing the bank with your personal information and ID.

You can then add one or more pay-on-death beneficiaries to the account by providing the bank with the names and Social Security numbers of those people. The Federal Reserve recognises POD accounts as revocable trusts, and your beneficiaries can access the account funds without going through probate court after you die.