What Is a Bank Account Trustee?

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A bank account trustee is a person or legal entity appointed to serve in a fiduciary capacity as trustee. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage the trust account in accordance with the terms stated in the trust agreement.

Trust

A trust is a legal confidential agreement between two or more parties. Trust accounts have assets, and bank accounts titled as a trust asset will have the named trustee as part of the legal title of the account. The trustee of the bank account is also the trustee of the underlying trust that owns the bank account. A trustee cannot legally co-mingle any non-trust property with trust assets, which requires a separately titled bank account if required.

Trustees

When a person establishes a trust, the legal agreement names a trustee to serve in a fiduciary capacity. The trustee has full responsibility for management of the trust, which includes assets and investments, as well as expense payments and distributions from the trust. Trustees who are individuals and not processional financial trust departments often find it necessary to establish a bank account in the trust name managed by the trustee to make distributions and pay any trust expenses.

Title

A bank account owned by a trust has title in the trust name. An example of the legal title on bank records is the John Doe Trust Under Agreement Dated January 1, 2011, Mary Jane Doe as Trustee. The bank account trustee is the signatory on the account, and the bank verifies the identity of the trustee when setting up the account. Signature card execution is by the bank account trustee, or trustees, if more than one.

Withdrawal and Deposits

Withdrawals from and deposits to a bank account owned by a trust with a trustee occur under the terms of the underlying trust agreement. The terms of the trust agreement are confidential, and the trustee is the only party with authority to disburse or deposit funds to the bank trust account. Beneficiaries of the trust do not have any authority to move funds when there is a bank account trustee.

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