A general definition of a trust officer is an employee of a bank or investment management firm. Trust officers also play a starring role in the ongoing concerns – financial and otherwise – of older Americans.
According to the web site CaregiverStress.com (highly recommended), trust officers primarily serve as custodians of an individual’s finances, focusing on estate issues such as wills (which direct the distribution of assets upon death) and trusts (which manage and distribute assets prior to and after death).
They can also be called upon to offer their expertise in other money matters, including financial planning, investing, retirement plans, taxes and property management.
Perhaps more importantly for seniors, trust officers can provide valuable counsel when it comes to long-term issues, including care options. Trust officers work on behalf of their clients for home health, hospice, home care, and/or institutional options.
More and more trust officers are including special services for seniors as a part of their offerings, and many officers have connections with healthcare professionals to aid their clients in the lifestyle choices they make.
Some institutions even have financial management services expressly for the aging, creating plans for seniors to ensure their sunset years won’t be characterized by money problems and other long-term concerns.
One of the biggest benefits of contracting with a trust officer is the placement of the client’s portfolio and financial planning in the hands of a committed, professional third party. There are far too many horror stories about how money mismanagement by a well-meaning family member not only fouled financial plans, but also broke up the family in the process. I’ve seen it.
Making the decision to bring a trust officer into your affairs is an important one. If you think your estate isn’t large enough to require a trust officer’s attention, you should discuss the situation with a financial adviser or the customer service representative at your home bank. It’s an important step to protecting your present well-being, as well as the future comfort and security of your heirs.