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What is a Bank Trust Department?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Among the financial services that are offered with many banking institutions, there is the bank trust department. Essentially, the function of the department is to handle the administration of trust funds, provide estate planning support, and in some cases, see to the disposition of the estate of a deceased customer.

One of the factors that makes the use of bank trust departments so attractive is that they tend to be somewhat conservative with their management approach. This means that the department is likely to take time to evaluate all options when involved in settling estates, establishing guardianships, or administering trusts that have been set up for the survivors of a major depositor. This methodical approach is often in line with the motivation for establishing the asset in the first place, which was to provide a source of financial support for loved ones, even after a parent or significant other has died.

Along with estate settlement, the department may also provide a number of other agency services, such as functioning as the trustee of record for corporate bonds or administering a pension or profit sharing plan. These types of services are usually associated with companies, although a wealthy private depositor would certainly qualify for this type of support as well. As a means of ensuring that the resources of the bank or banks safely protect the investments involved, the service makes it relatively easy for the client to deal with other matters. As a result, the investor can focus more on family or other business matters, and be less involved in the task of protecting assets that are already established and set on a path of consistent growth.

The bank trust department can also be a viable option for someone who has no next of kin who could manage the assets in the event of a critical illness. Providing the department with authorization to make decisions for whatever time the customer is incapacitated helps to remove the worries of dealing with finances while dealing with some sort of personal emergency or recovering from surgery. From this perspective, it helps to safeguard the financial well being of the client, ensuring that there will be assets to take care of financial obligations for the duration of the recovery period.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including SmartCapitalMind, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By JessicaLynn — On Nov 15, 2011

I think estate planning is one area where you would definitely want to use the services of a bank trust department. I know that a lot of times when someone passes away, all their assets can get tied up in court for years if there are any discrepancies with the documents.

I feel like most people would just want the people in their wills to get what was willed to them without too much trouble. So seeking professional help seems like it would be a good idea when planning your estate.

By JaneAir — On Nov 14, 2011

@ceilingcat - It does seem like it would be a good idea to use a bank trust department. However, I would definitely ask for recommendations from friends first.

I know people need qualifications for bank trust department jobs and everything, but I wouldn't trust just anyone to set up something like this for me! I feel like there are a lot of things that could go wrong with something as important as a trust.

I think it's important to have reputable people dealing with your money. So make sure to go to a good bank, not just any old bank on the corner.

By ceilingcat — On Nov 14, 2011

I think it would make a lot of sense to use a bank trust department for long term financial planning. After all, most people who work in banks services know a lot more about finances than the average person!

I don't have any children, but when I do, I'm definitely going to need help to set up a trust for them. I have no clue where I would start on something like this. I'm pretty financially savvy otherwise, but this is one time I think I will hire outside help from a bank trust department.

By anon30652 — On Apr 22, 2009

What kind of customer would use a trust department?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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