What is a trust?

A tool to gain control over your estate

A trust is a contract that gives an individual or an institution—like U.S. Bank, for example—the authority to hold legal title to assets while managing them for the benefit of others.

Trusts can help you ensure that your assets are distributed and managed according to your wishes. In certain circumstances, trusts may also create other benefits such as tax efficiencies.

Learn about different types of trusts



Key players

The Grantor

Otherwise known as the trustor or the settlor, the person who funds the trust and chooses the beneficiaries

The Trustee

The person or entity that administers the trust according to the grantor’s wishes

The Beneficiaries

The people and organizations—such as spouses, children, grandchildren or charities—who receive benefits from the trust



Corporate trustee

Many grantors choose a corporate trustee to manage their trusts and settle their estates. For example, U.S. Bank has been administering trusts as a corporate trustee for over 100 years. Here’s what a corporate trustee does:

Alleviates burdens

Settling an estate can take an emotional toll after a loved one’s passing. A corporate trustee provides services to settle an estate, which otherwise can be a complex, time consuming and stressful process.

Balances competing interests

During an emotionally charged time, a corporate trustee plays the role of an objective party who takes into account the interests of relatives, close friends and other beneficiaries.

Provides support

A corporate trustee is an independent fiduciary partner. Typically, a grantor works with a single point of contact who has access to experts in a wide array of related services.

Financial Matters


Trust Considerations

When you set up a trust you encounter a variety of critical financial issues.

Asset management

Invest in ways that are consistent with your investment objectives and intent.

Learn about our approach to investing

Estate planning

Work with tax and legal advisors to ensure your estate plan is comprehensive and properly documented.

Tax management

Deliver tax information for personal income tax filing purposes; file tax returns for irrevocable trusts and provide required documentation to beneficiaries.

Privacy maintenance

Protect personal matters from the public—including the identity of beneficiaries, statement waivers and sealed court documents—to avoid public court accountings.

Philanthropic planning

Arrange for gifting to charitable organizations.

Learn about our approach to charitable giving

Situs considerations

Consider options regarding governing state law for irrevocable trusts.

Learn more about trust situs



Types of trusts

Some trusts can be modified after they are created, while others are irrevocable after they are legally established.

Learn more

Trust and estate planning

Read various featured articles on the topics of trusts and estate planning.

Browse articles

How to set up a trust

A trust requires careful administration, but setting one up is a fairly simple process.

Watch the video