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.