How to Open a Trust Bank Account

A trust bank account, or Totten trust as it is often referred to, is an account that names both a trustee and a beneficiary. The name Totten trust comes from case law with a lawsuit involving a person with the name of Totten. The trustee of a Totten trust oversees the account and is the only one with access to the funds. The beneficiary of a trust bank account receives the funds upon the passing of the trustee.

Pick a beneficiary. Before you establish your Totten trust, be sure to have a beneficiary in mind.

Head to your local bank. Every bank allows its customers to have trust accounts, so there is no need to change banks.

Ask the banker for a trust bank account application. Every bank will have applications for these accounts, and, typically, any currently open checking or savings account can be converted into a Totten trust.

Fill out the application, and ask for a copy to take home for your records.

Tell your beneficiary about the account. Upon your passing, your beneficiary will need to take a copy of your death certificate to the bank to claim the funds. Be sure to inform your beneficiary of his future inheritance so he can be prepared.


  • Totten accounts are also often called payable on death, or POD, accounts.


About the Author

Kelcey Lehrich has been writing for several online media outlets for the past few years. His work can be found on, and Lehrich holds a bachelor's degree from Cleveland State University in business administration and finance.