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What does a Trust Officer do?

A trust officer is a member of a professional team which may include your attorney, accountant or insurance agent. Many times it is one of these other professionals that first makes a person aware of how a trust department may benefit them. The title "Officer" is designated to bank employees that exercise a high degree of responsibility and accountability in their jobs. Trust officers have without a doubt the most widely diversified jobs at the bank. Trust officers have to deal with investing, insurance, retirement plans, real estate, property management, taxes, accounting, appraisals, loans, financial planning, nursing homes, and more.

In the first stages of estate planning, many people seek out the assistance of a trust officer because of their knowledge and experience in dealing with estate planning issues. Trust officers are typically in the front line trenches handling the legal documents and serving in the capacity of a personal representative or trustee. They can answer questions for your situation and make you aware of things such as Power of Attorney, and the workings of Wills and Trusts. While a trust officer cannot give you legal advice, they can give you guidance and direction in your estate planning before you meet with an attorney. A trust officer does not charge for consulting with a trust officer.

Two of the basic tools of estate planning are Wills and Trusts. Wills are used to distribute assets and property after a persons death, with the personal representative (previously known as the executor) having that responsibility. Trusts can be used to both manage and distribute assets and property, during a persons lifetime and after their death. Trusts that are set up while a person is alive are called Living Trusts. Trusts that are set up under the Will are Testamentary Trusts. The trustee is responsible for the Trust.

A trust officer is legally bound by what is called the "prudent man principal". In other words, a trust officer must act in the best interest of the client when making decisions. Because of this, a trust officer cannot receive commissions when buying or selling investments. Many people use trust departments to manage their trusts simply because it is a cost effective way to get professional management of their finances. Also, a trust officer must be careful to avoid any conflict of interest when making investment choices. For example, when looking for a safe short term income producing investment, a trust officer reviews the CD rates of area banks and government treasuries to find the one that has the best terms for you.








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