America's Most Advisor Friendly Trust Companies 2021

The Winners List

advisor friendly trust companies

The America’s Most Advisor Friendly Trust Companies guide was released this week by The Wealth Advisor, a leading voice in the financial services industry. This guide details 21 of the best non-custodial, non-management trust companies in the industry. IconTrust is the newest company on the list.

To view our profile or download the full guide click below.

What Makes a Trust Company Advisor-Friendly?

The trust companies on this list partner with advisors instead of competing for assets under management. They realize that investment management is best provided by the client's trusted financial advisor and trust administration is best provided by an independent corporate trustee. This is in stark contrast to the traditional trust companies of the past that handle both sides; trust administration and investment management. Many clients prefer the separation of duties, flat trustee fees, and the greater flexibility of an advisor-friendly trust company.

"A trust account is an investment account with instructions. You handle the investment account, we handle the instructions."

Providing Trust Services is a Differentiator in the Marketplace

The average consumer is smarter than ever before and knows that investment management can sometimes be a bit of a commodity. They are reminded of computer-based platforms that can supposedly match market returns for a fraction of the price of a financial advisor. This is why managing trust accounts is such a differentiator in the marketplace. Providing trust services goes beyond asset management and into deep conversations about legacy planning and family dynamics that can solidify advisor relationships for many generations.  Trust assets are sticky and working with an advisor-friendly trust company is a financial advisor’s glue to the next generation.

Advisor Friendly trust companies help advisors land new accounts

The Time is Now to partner with a trust company

With a new political administration and a potential of a decrease in the estate tax exemption, wealthy families will need estate tax planning advice in 2021 and beyond. For advisors, there has never been a more opportune time to partner with a law firm and an advisor-friendly trust company to offer estate planning services. Advisors who are proactive in providing advice in this potential new tax environment are poised to attract many new wealthy families to their business.

Which trusts make sense

Partner with IconTrust

IconTrust was founded in 2020 and is the newest trust company to the list of America’s Most Advisor Friendly Trust Companies. Years of experience in an outdated and archaic trust industry prompted us to create a new model for advisors and their clients. We think charging trustee fees based on assets under administration is outdated. Our flat trustee fees for all types of trusts are easier for advisors to promote and for clients to understand.

We feel our flat fee schedule for all trust services is a true differentiator in the marketplace. We built IconTrust with simple procedures and simplified fees that everyone can understand. We believe our model will set a new standard for how a modern trust company should operate and provide services to advisors and their clients.

To learn more about Icon's Benefits for Financial Advisors contact us at 702-998-3700 or email


Trust Settlement Checklist for Successor Trustees

A trust settlement checklist is a must-have if you have been named as successor trustee on a trust. After the death of an individual, their estate plan needs to be administered. This process is called post-mortem administration and is a series of tasks performed by a fiduciary named in the estate planning documents. The fiduciary of a trust is called a successor trustee.

Serving as the successor trustee of a trust is not a role to be taken lightly. Administration can be an arduous and time-intensive project even for a professional trustee, let alone an individual trustee who may not be familiar with the fiduciary duties and liabilities they are undertaking. If you have been named as successor trustee on a trust, the following checklist may serve as a guide of some of the duties you may perform in settling the trust and carrying out the wishes of the decedent.

16 Steps to Settle a Trust and Distribute Assets Outright to Beneficiaries
  1. Locate estate planning and financial documents including, but not limited to, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, financial statements, and tax returns.
  2. Obtain multiple certified copies of death certificates through funeral homes or mortuaries. You can also order death certificates through your state’s vital record office.
  3. Obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) through the IRS. Visit to apply for a TIN.
  4. Contact an attorney to draft a formal acceptance of you accepting the role as trustee and file a notice to creditors.
  5. Contact the decedent’s professional team (attorney, financial professionals, CPA) to notify them of the death of the decedent, your appointment as trustee, and discuss your role in the administration of the trust. The decedent’s professional team will be a valuable resource to help gather all the necessary documents to help you do your job. You will want to provide copies of the death certificates to the decedent’s professional team.
  6. Consult with the decedent’s CPA to prepare the decedent’s final tax return and the trust tax return. Discuss with the CPA whether an estate tax needs to be filed.
  7. Review the will or trust and identify the beneficiaries; make a list of their names, addresses, and contact information. Read the section of the trust about your powers and responsibilities.
  8. Contact the post office to forward all mail to you as the successor trustee.
  9. Cancel all services and utilities for the decedent. Pay any outstanding debts, including credit card bills.
  10. Contact financial institutions to obtain access to the decedent’s bank and financial accounts. You will need to reregister bank accounts under your name as trustee.
  11. Take an inventory of trust assets to determine which assets are titled in the trust and which assets may need to be administered as part of the decedent’s probate estate. Determine and update the cost basis of each asset at the date of death (step-up in basis).
  12. Value any illiquid investments such as real estate, automobiles, art, business interests, etc.
  13. Contact insurance companies and file any claims for life insurance benefits.
  14. Obtain any information about retirement plans due to beneficiaries. Also, file any claims for social security benefits.
  15. Begin distributions of any tangible personal property. Look to see if there is a list, Personal Property Memorandum, or specific instructions.
  16. Distribute remaining assets to the beneficiaries per the trust document.

If you have any questions about the above trust settlement checklist, please email or call 702-998-3700.