by Richard Keyt, Arizona estate planning attorney

Your trust is the foundation of your estate plan.  It contains your distribution plan – who inherits your property and the timing and amount of distributions to the heirs.  The plan contained in your trust is only as good as the trustee(s) who you name to administer the trust if you become incapacitated or die.  You must pick only trustees that you trust will be able to carry out your plan.

When people have substantial assets that will be left in trust to their loved ones, my recommendation for the first successor trustee is an institutional trustee such as a bank or trust company.  These companies have years of experience managing assets and dealing with trust beneficiaries.  They do charge an annual fee for services.  A typical fee is 1.25% of the value of the assets under trust management.  One advantage of an institutional trustee over most friends and family members is an institutional trustee has professional asset managers.  Unfortunately  most people are not good at managing their own money much less other people's money.

The following is a list of institutional trustees with offices in Arizona.  If you are considering naming an institutional trustee as a successor trustee of your trust, I recommend you interview each of the institutions and ask them any questions about their trust services.  The trust companies are not listed in any particular order.

TrustBank Phoenix

Philip Hotchkiss, Vice President
2375 E. Camelback Rd. Ste. 155
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 957-2006
See TrustBank's website

Northern Trust Bank

  • 2398 E. Camelback Road, Suite 400,
    Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Northern requires that the value of all assets under its management be at least $2 million.  Call Nora Mandel at this office at 602-468-2627 for information.  She is a trust officer.

  • 7600 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd.
    Scottsdale, AZ 85253-2134
  • 1525 South Greenfield Road
    Mesa, AZ 85206-3301

BMO Harris Bank

  • 6720 N Scottsdale Rd # 111
    Scottsdale, AZ 85253
  • 2555 E. Camelback Rd # 160
    Phoenix, AZ  85016

AB&T requires that the value of all assets under its management be at least $350,000.  Call Michael Zaglool at 602-381-2063 for information.  He is a Vice President & trust officer.