Trust Companies – what are they and why consider them

July 17, 2023 / Insight from Jan Frederickson, CFP®, Senior Wealth Advisor

In the March 2023 insight from Jane Alm that talked about testamentary trusts, there was information about appointing a trustee, and one option was “a trust company…such as National Bank Trust”. This month, we will look at what a trust company is and what it does, and in what circumstances it might be an appropriate part of your financial and estate planning.

A trust company can manage money or property on your behalf. The trust company does not own your assets, but it may assume some legal obligation to take care of assets on behalf of other parties, when directed. It is hired to act as a fiduciary, meaning they act on your behalf – making decisions on investments or asset distribution that are in the best interests of you or your estate.

Trust companies can manage the day-to-day finances for clients, making it an option for someone that is incapacitated, does not have the motivation or capacity to manage personal finances, or does not have anyone that they want to name as a Power of Attorney.

Additionally, trust companies also offer a variety of estate-oriented services, such as guardianship, estate settlement, and non-financial asset management. They can also act as advisors to executors of wills and estates on more complex matters or can be a good alternative for preventing future family squabbles when dealing with inheritances and estate planning. If dividing up the assets of an estate will cause family turmoil, a trust company can act as a neutral third party.

A trust company offers access to a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to support you and safeguard your assets, including lawyers, notaries, accountants, and tax and investment advisors.

Some of the reasons why you might consider working with a trust company include:

  • You are looking for professional support and guidance during the decision-making process for your estate planning.
  • You want to have a trusted representative in place to make decisions concerning your assets if you become incapacitated.
  • You own property abroad – and have taxation or other requirements that must be taken care of during your ownership and as part of estate management.
  • You are a business owner – and want to ensure the complete execution of all duties and responsibilities of an administrator, as well as handling legal and administrative formalities during the entire succession process.
  • You are uncomfortable identifying someone around you to manage your estate – Trust Companies can act alone or alongside a named executor to provide support and are available to assist in areas the executor may not be familiar with.
  • One of your potential estate beneficiaries cannot handle financial decisions and will need a trustee to manage their inheritance for a long period of time.

The fees for a trust company service are based on the value of the assets under administration and may include annual minimum fees and initial set up costs. For more information about trust services, contact your Wealth Advisor. 

Jan Frederickson

Senior Wealth Advisor

Phone : 780-412-6626
Email :


National Bank Financial - Wealth Management (NBFWM) is a division of National Bank Financial Inc. (NBF), as well as a trademark owned by National Bank of Canada (NBC) that is used under license by NBF. NBF is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NBC, a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA).

Contact us

Get contact information for our team members and find out where our offices are.