Legal & Tax Practitioner FAQ

Managing and guiding your clients' estate planning means putting your reputation on the line. When it's time for you to recommend a corporate trustee, you can be assured that Washington Trust's Wealth Management & Advisory Services team will protect your professional integrity.

We are a corporate trustee that understands our role in supporting the legal counsel you provide your clients. Our full range of trust, investment, and estate services are complemented by our technical expertise, sensitivity, confidentiality, and a well-earned reputation for administering complex wealth plans.

What is the history of Washington Trust Bank as a Corporate Trustee?

Family owned through four generations for over 100 years, Washington Trust Bank is the oldest and largest privately owned commercial bank headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. Washington Trust was originated as a trust company in 1902.

Why use a corporate trustee?

Unlike an individual trustee, a corporate trustee has expertise in the administration of complex tax, legal and accounting requirements. We are not subject to death or incapacity as an individual trustee is. Additionally, we carry liability insurance, utilize specialized trust accounting software and we are audited by state and federal regulators—unlike an individual trustee.

What makes Washington Trust Bank unique?

Wealth Management & Advisory Services relationships are administered directly by the experts who coordinate with you for “best of class” services. We’re small enough to have a local and regional understanding of our clients and their specialized requirements. We’re large enough to provide the global financial sophistication our clients require to achieve the best possible financial results.

  • Legacy: Washington Trust Bank accepted its first trust appointment in 1902
  • Expertise: We offer highly experienced & credentialed professional administrators
  • Salaried officers
  • No proprietary mutual funds or investment inventory
  • Independent investment research
  • No trust service “call centers”

How large is your Wealth Management & Advisory Services division?

With over $4 billion dollars and 2,000 client relationships under administration, Wealth Management & Advisory Services is a dominant service group and a core service of Washington Trust Bank.

Is Washington Trust Bank local?

All services—investment management, trust administration, estate settlement, tax, operations and technology support—are located in the Pacific Northwest with local Wealth Management & Advisory Services offices in Portland, Seattle, Bellevue, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Boise.

How is Washington Trust different from other corporate trustees?

Our relationships are administered directly by the professionals who coordinate with you for “best of class” service. Our regional operation, expert officers and independent structure ensure optimal, unbiased and objective estate and trust administration. We do not utilize trust “call centers.”

There are no affiliated investment companies or joint ventures with Washington Trust Bank or W.T.B. Financial Corporation.

Why is Washington Trust Bank an appropriate choice for my clients?

Our officers are highly credentialed and provide you the in–depth service and communication efficiencies only a local, Pacific Northwest based partner can provide. Our application of professional expertise is enhanced because we are not weighed down by a complex or cumbersome nationally oriented firm structure. All calls concerning a client’s account are directed by the administrator who may be an attorney, CPA, LL.M., financial planner or Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.

Can I select the trust officer that is appropriate to the administration of my client’s requirements?

With over one hundred years of administrative history, we understand trust and estate administration. A discussion with one of our local officers will identify the needs centric to your client. We can then position the most appropriate expert on our team to assist you and your client.

Do you have specialists?

Yes, we match each portfolio with the officer that has extensive experience with that particular type of administration. We require all officers to have a very sophisticated level of expertise in investment, tax, trust and estate administration and a professional certification (JD, CPA, CTFA, CFA, AAMS, CFP as examples of our staff’s professional credentials).

What is your geographic scope of operation?

Our primary scope of operation is Washington, Oregon and Idaho. We assist clients in other states on an individual basis.

Can Washington Trust Bank act as a corporate trustee for individuals residing outside of your regional operation?

Yes, if it is geographically and economically feasible for the administration. Again, on an individual basis.

What types of trust accounts does Washington Trust Bank administer?

Our services include investment management, estate settlement, trust administration and Family Office Services. An overview of our services reflects our various capacities as Agent, Custodian, Personal Representative and Trustee.


In what trust capacities can Washington Trust Bank act?

We serve as personal representative/executor, sole corporate trustee, co-trustee, directed trustee, independent special trustee or as trust administrative agent.

How are you regulated?

Washington Trust Bank and its Wealth Management Division are regulated by the Division of Financial Institutions and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Do you provide investment management for trust accounts?

Yes. Our Portfolio Management Group within our division is directly responsible for the investment strategy and operation of client investment portfolios.

Does Washington Trust Bank draft trust documents?

No. We rely on the expertise of legal counsel in creating legal plans. We encourage you to partner with us to review your drafts to ensure our administration will be best positioned.

Will you accept an agent position for trust administration?

Yes, upon due-diligence review.

Will you accept co-trustee appointment?

Yes, on a select basis we accept co-trustee appointment. Subject to our due-diligence review prior to acceptance.

Do you administer special needs trusts?

Negotiating the balance between providing for a client’s disabled loved one and compromising their ability to receive government aid can prove to be a challenge. Washington Trust Bank has specialists who will advise you in what is required in the drafting and administration of a successful Special Needs Trust. Our experts not only have specialized expertise, but also the compassion and patience required in special needs administration.

Do you provide Family Office Services?

Our Family Office Services provide the financial administration to manage all of the financial complexities and interests of a multigenerational family. For high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, executives and families with inherited wealth considerations, our highly personalized assistance ensures family finance is handled with the utmost levels of objectivity, integrity and professionalism. Because multiple-interest ownership benefits from one overseeing administrator, Washington Trust Bank Family Office Services provides professional advice, strategic planning and administration of all types of financial assets.

Will you accept court appointment or conservatorship?

A conservator may be appointed for a person who is incapable of competently looking after his or her financial affairs, yet is otherwise competent and able to care for his or her own needs. It may be established for a person who simply prefers not to have the responsibility and burden of looking after his or her own financial affairs. We have specialists in all types of court appointment.

Do you provide bill paying services for individuals?

Yes, also included in our administration are bill paying, disbursement and record-keeping, tax preparation and filing, and the safekeeping and custody of assets.

Will you work in a Directed Trustee position with other financial advisors?

Unlike traditional corporate trust administration, directed trustee allows for a client to appoint a trustee and investment advisor separately. While we maintain complete fiduciary responsibility, we will consider this type of appointment if an investment advisor meets our stringent requirements.

Does Washington Trust Bank prepare trust account tax returns?

Our administration includes tax planning and strategy, preparation and filing. We will also utilize external tax counsel when appropriate to the administration.

Will you accept Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)?

If we have an existing relationship with a client, we will consider appointment and administration of their life insurance trust. We do not accept life insurance trust administration on an individual or stand alone basis.

What is your minimum account size?

Our minimum trust administration is $500,000. We will consider lesser amounts upon further conversation with you. Our average trust is approximately $1.8 million.

How is Washington Trust Bank compensated as trustee?

We maintain a separate fee schedule for probate, estate settlement and trust administration. Probate and estate administration are typically a fixed fee; trust administration is based on the market value of securities and assets held within the trust.

We will provide a fee schedule specific to your client’s asset administration upon request.

Will you accept extraordinary assets in trust administration?

Yes. We have a stringent due diligence process for non-standard asset holdings. These may include artwork and antiquities, agricultural property, closely held business, intellectual capital, music or other subscriptive rights, as a few examples.

How do I transfer an existing trust to Washington Trust Bank?

We will request required legal documents, an overview of the asset holdings and tax history in our initial review of acceptance.

Do your professionals receive compensation from client specific transactions?

All officers and staff of Washington Trust Bank’s Wealth Management & Advisory Services are salaried officers. We do not personally receive any commission, trail or other compensation from any fund manager or service providers.

To avoid potential conflict of interest as a trustee or as an agent, we do not maintain proprietary mutual funds. We do not receive soft compensation (fees) from any mutual fund company. Washington Trust Bank maintains strict policies to avoid any “self dealing” or fund “bias.”

What kind of communication and statements do your clients receive?

Our trust administration system provides us the most sophisticated administrative tools. We provide clients and their interested advisors printed and online access to account activity and monthly access to their audited performance to review investment performance. We also provide weekly and quarterly investment updates and financial planning updates.

Do you provide financial planning?

Our clients receive an in-depth, custom and comprehensive financial review. We do not provide financial planning services on a "stand alone" basis.

What is required to get started? How do I provide information for my client?

Simply contact one of our regional offices detailed on the back of this publication to further discuss your client’s needs and integrate us into your planning process.

How do I appoint Washington Trust Bank?

We urge you to first contact one of our regional trust administrators to discuss your client’s needs.