OPENING A LOCAL BANK ACCOUNT

To open your trust account at a local bank you will need to have the following to take with you (Do NOT take additional documents it will only confuse them!).

 

  1. Abstract of Trust
  2. EIN Confirmation Letter
  3. Banking Resolution (Please note that everyone that has signed the banking resolution as an authorized representative on the account will need to be present when opening the account. If this is not possible we suggest that you print a new blank banking resolution and  put N/A instead of signing for any party that will not be present present in opening the account.)

 

Please also note that not all banks will open a business trust account, you may need to try more than one bank to find success. If you have issues at one bank simply try another. We have had great success in working with Wells Fargo, as well as PNC. We have seen nothing but problems trying to work with Chase and Fifth Third. We would only work with Bank of America as a last resort. Others are certainly possible to use if you do not have these in your area, but due diligence will be necessary to see what services they are able to offer.

 

A word to the wise is to call a few branches first and ask for their business department's e-mail. Then you can email the documentation in so that their legal department can review it. If it were us we would not wish to waste a trip and time that is unnecessary. It usually takes at least 3 business days for their legal department to review. A simple example email would be as follows:

Dear Sir/Madam

We are contacting you to open a Trust Account.

Please see the following attached documents to pass to your legal department for review:
1) Abstract of Trust
2) Banking Resolution
3) EIN Confirmation Letter
Please follow up once you have confirmation from your legal department so we can come in and sign anything necessary to establish the account.

If there is anything further that we can help with please feel free to reach out by email.

Sincerely,
Name-Here TTEE on behalf of
Trust Name Here

If for any reason they do not immediately help with opening your account please troubleshooting steps below.

Troubleshooting

Business License

Some banks are requiring you to have a business license this we have seen so far in: New York, Florida, California, and South Carolina. If you run into issues in these locations, there may be not other option than to register it with the state as well. Alternatively you could travel to another state to open your account letting them know you are likely to be moving or coming to the area to do business to avoid overzealous states that wish to encumber your right to contract.

Additional Document Request

After your initial submission of documents occasionally banks (PNC in particular) may want to see the original documents for the trust, such as the Declaration of Trust. This is generally not an issue, except in rare instances where they do not fully understand the usage of digital signatures. If you run into such an issue it is easily bypassed using a Notary Acknowledgement.

To use a Notary Acknowledgement simply print one of the two options above (Word, PDF) take it to a local notary along with a print out of your digitally signed Declaration of Trust. Have the notary sign off on it and staple it to the Declaration of Trust. Note that this same method could be be used for any document.

If they ask for additional documents beyond the submission of the Declaration of Trust, please feel free to reach out to us for help on proceeding accordingly.

Inept Service Provider

Occasionally even when using one of the recommended banks, as we like to work with, you may still get a lemon. By this we mean a service provider that has no idea how to help you properly. In such a case it may be prudent to seek help from another branch, or bank. Do not be rude and tell them anything of the sort, would you get upset with another service provider and tell them such? Of course not, you would simply try and work out services with another provide and then once you have accomplished the task cancel your service request with the initial provider. Remember to always do good business and you will avoid countless issues!

Personal Trust Account vs Business Trust Account

The bank may offer to open a personal trust vs a business trust. If this is the case as long as it is opened using the EIN it really doesn't matter. The only real difference in the designation in their system of personal vs business will be how many checks you can deposit without incurring processing fees. If you get to this and you are exceeding such a limit they will likely at that point offer to switch it to a business account to save you money.

Providing Them Information You Shouldn't

Providing banks information you shouldn't may destroy your ability to open your account and your working relationship with said bank or bank branch. It is VERY important not to provide information outside of what is in the instructions here as you will likely confuse them and cause yourself more issues than solutions.