How to open a trust account

How to open a trust account

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement in which one party, a trustor, appoints a trustee to manage assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries for a designated amount of time or until specified requirements are met. A trust may be in effect during the trustor's lifetime (living or inter vivos trust) or it may be created through a decedent's will (testamentary trust).

For instructions on opening a trust account established outside the U.S., see How to open an international trust account.

For instructions on opening a trust account using an existing Schwab One® personal account number, see How to convert accounts.

You can open a trust account using digital onboarding DocuSign® or paper forms.

The type of trust will determine the trust account opening method Tooltip .

To open a trust account, you'll need the following:

All accounts
  • A completed Account Application (Schwab One Trust Accounts) form (use the application instructions for more information)
  • If any trustee, authorized individual, grantor, or entity control person has a foreign home/legal or mailing address:
    • Passport (to establish the client's identity)
    • Utility bill (to establish the client's foreign residency)
  • If a trustee is an entity: a completed Supplemental Trust Account Application for Entity Trustees
In addition to the information above, the following trust account registration specific information may be required:
Tenants in common The following obtained from your service team:
  • Supplemental Account Application for Trusts as Tenants in Common
  • Case number
Tax-exempt trust

Proof of exempt status, such as a tax declaration letter

Trust with Board of Trustees

Trust Account Board Resolution and Authorization Form if you want to submit information for a subset of the Board of Trustees (Obtained from your service team)

Business Trust

Trust Addendum if any individual owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or greater of the equity interest of the Business Trust (provide information about Beneficial Owners).

Additional features For additional features requested by the client:
  • If establishing an ACH (Schwab MoneyLink®) profile:
    • A completed ACH (MoneyLink) form
    • A valid document from the other financial institution containing the client's account title, account number, account type, and ABA number (e.g., check, deposit slip, statement, or letter on bank letterhead signed by an officer)
  • If adding a power of attorney to the account: a completed Power of Attorney (Individual POA) form
  • If adding margins or options: a completed Options Trading and Margin Application
Account opening method For additional guidance, review  trust account opening methods Tooltip for your client’s trust type.

Schwab recommends using digital onboarding for the fastest, most secure experience for you and your clients. To open both revocable and irrevocable living trust accounts. For details, see How to use digital onboarding.

If using DocuSign to submit forms:

  • For existing Schwab clients, a complete Schwab Advisor Center® profile with the account holder's current email address and mobile phone number
  • For new-to-Schwab clients, the email address, and a mobile phone number
  • All clients must use both text message (SMS) authentication and Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) for DocuSign

For details on this process, see How to use digital onboarding.

Digital onboarding supports Schwab One living trust account open for:

  • Revocable trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts

Note: The trustee(s) and grantor(s) do not need to be the same

Digital onboarding also supports new account funding and set up in a single digital workflow for you and your clients, including:

  • ACAT asset transfer (TOA)
  • Link external bank account (ACH/MoneyLink)
  • Check requests standing authorization (SLOA)
  • Internal cash transfers (journals) standing authorization (SLOA)

As Schwab transitions from digital account open (single account open with no funding or account set up) to digital onboarding, you may need to access digital envelopes in two places:

For Steps
Legacy digital account open envelopes
  1. Go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center.
  2. Click Manage Schwab envelopes.
  3. At the top of the page, click Schwab Envelopes for Additional Workflows.
  4. Edit, send, or submit existing draft envelopes.
    • Completed envelopes will continue to be accessible and expire after 180 days.

Note: For new envelopes, follow the digital onboarding workflow.

New digital onboarding envelopes
  1. Go to Account Management on Schwab Advisor Center.
  2. Click Open and fund an account.
  3. Click Open and fund an account again.
  4. Follow the workflow steps.
  5. View in progress or completed envelopes via Manage Schwab envelopes.
  6. Review and act on all digital onboarding envelopes (draft, waiting for client approval, action needed, completed).

For details, see How to manage envelopes.

For details, see How to use DocuSign:

  • Use the Open Account- Schwab One Trust Account form to complete the workflow.
  • Verify the forms you need are listed, and if not, click Add More Schwab Forms. If additional documentation is required, such as a voided check for an ACH (MoneyLink) profile, click Add Files From Your Computer to upload PDFs from your desktop. If any forms are not required for opening the client’s account, deselect those forms on the list.

A trust account for any type of trust may be opened using paper forms.

  1. Select the Account Application (Schwab One Trust Accounts) form and click Open PDF. If opening an account for trusts as tenants in common, each trust must complete a separate Schwab One Account Application for Trust Accounts. The trust account registration will be in the names of the trusts held as TIC (i.e., John Doe Trust and Jane Doe Trust held as TIC).
    Open and complete all applicable forms in the package.
  2. If the trust has an entity trustee, select the Supplemental Trust Account App for Entity Trustees form (under Account Open Supplemental Forms) and click Open PDF.
  3. If any individual owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or greater of the equity interest of the Business Trust, select the Trust Addendum form (under Account Open Supplemental Forms) and click Open PDF.
  4. Complete all necessary fields and ensure all additional features and authorizations the client requested have been added.
  5. Print the form(s) and obtain signatures from each trustee and entity agent.
  6. If opening a trust for tenants in common, on the top of the first page of each Schwab One Account Application for Trust Accounts and on each page of the supporting trust documentation, handwrite "Reference ID#__________" (as provided by Schwab on the attached Supplement).
  7. Send the signed form(s) to your Schwab service team via mail or Schwab Advisor Center service request

Once you have submitted your request:

If the forms were submitted using digital onboarding, see How to use digital onboarding

If the forms were submitted using DocuSign, see What's next? section of How to use DocuSign.

If you have questions about opening a trust account, call your service team.

Go to the Forms library on Schwab Advisor Center and select the forms below.


Form: Account Application (Schwab One Trust Accounts)

Form: Addition to Household Request Form

Form: ACH (MoneyLink)

Form: Options Trading and Margin Application

Form: Power of Attorney (Individual POA)

Form: Prime Brokerage Amendment (Account Holder)

Form: Schwab Bank: Add Schwab Bank Investor Checking to your Schwab One Brokerage Account (Investor Checking)

Form: Statement Bundling Letter of Authorization Form

Form: Supplemental Trust Account App for Entity Trustees

Form: Trust Addendum

Form: Transfer of Account Form Instructions (TOA / Account Transfer)

Resource: Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines for Investment Advisers

Resource: Trust Glossary

Resource: Digital onboarding education


Are some account features unavailable for trust accounts?
Yes. Due to the restrictions in and confidential nature of trusts, there are limits to eligible account features.

For example, Testamentary trusts are:

  • Ineligible for Schwab One® Visa®, Schwab BillPay®, and the pledged asset account features
  • Limited in the type of standing letter of authorization that can be set up between the trustee and the investment advisor
  • Eligible for ACH (Schwab MoneyLink®), but only for outbound transfers

Contact your service team if you have questions.

Can I open a fiduciary type of trust account at Schwab for my client?
No. As of December 2014, Schwab Advisor Services™ no longer supports fiduciary trust accounts.

Why does Schwab require submission of the pages from the trust document? Will that show establishment of the trust?
Schwab uses the requested pages to verify the trust's name and existence. Unlike organizations whose existence can be verified through a variety of online resources, a trust can only be verified by reviewing specific pages of the actual trust document (or for domestic revocable trusts only, the entire Certification of Trust). Only those specific pages are required because Schwab does not need to know the terms of the trust document.

What happens if the full trust document is submitted without being requested?
If the full trust document is submitted, or if unrequested pages are submitted, the account will be pended or restricted (if opened online) until the trustee signs and returns an acknowledgment letter to Schwab (In some situations Schwab may review the full document in lieu of requesting an acknowledgement letter.) This will delay opening and transacting in the account.

Why is Schwab asking for information on the grantor, source of funding, and purpose of account?
Schwab requests this information because of heightened regulatory scrutiny. Information on the grantor helps determine the source of funds. Often the grantor will also be a trustee, but in the event the grantor is deceased or someone other than a trustee, Schwab needs to collect the basic information on who created the trust.

Why do the trustee signatures need to be notarized for "other revocable" trust types when they are considered "revocable"?
Trustee signatures should be notarized for all trust account types, except for a revocable trust, which lists the same person(s) as the grantor and trustee. These accounts are treated similarly to an individual account because the same person (or persons) owns every aspect of the trust. Submit the signed/notarized form(s) via service request. Original form(s) not required. When submitted through DocuSign, trust account applications no longer require a notary. 

Will income be earned on any cash in the account that is not invested?
Yes. View the Cash Features Disclosures Statement for more information.

How to add and update account beneficiaries

How to add features to an account

How to add a power of attorney to an account

How to convert accounts

How to enroll in and make adjustments to Personal Trust Reporting Services

How to establish a Schwab MoneyLink® profile

How to make role changes for personal and trust accounts

How to open an international trust account

How to use digital onboarding

How to use DocuSign®

Introduction to householding

Introduction to Schwab Bank Investor Checking™ accounts

Introduction to Personal Trust Reporting Services

Introduction to submitting client documents