Which bank account is best for a personal injury trust

To create a personal injury trust for compensation, you first need a trust deed. This is a legal document which creates the trust and appoints your trustees.

Once your trust document is complete the next step is for the trustees to open a separate bank or building society account to hold your personal injury trust fund. Your trust is created by a deed and the trustees then open a joint current account.

You cannot create a trust just by opening a separate bank account, you need to first create the trust with a deed. People sometimes turn up at a bank with a compensation cheque, but without a deed, and this is why confusion is caused. I suggest you waste no time on banks before the trust deed is complete.

There are a small number of banks which will open a joint account for trustees. I will recommend banks to clients on the basis of recent client experience. The trust account should require at least two signatures for a financial transaction.

It was not long ago that trustee joint accounts had to operate on cheques. Thankfully, banks now offer dual authorised online banking or a telephone banking facility.

The trustees need a joint current account to make a start and, beyond that, with the trusts I prepare, you can open other accounts and investments. Please note, all trust accounts and investments must be held by the trust.

There should be two trustees as a minimum. If the compensated person is a trustee, there should be at least two other trustees. The bank account should be a joint account and should require joint signatures/approvals. The account for a personal injury trust should use the title of the trust. A trust for compensation set up for me in 2023 would be called the Mark Thompson Personal Injury Trust 2023.

In summary, what you need is a joint current account for the trustees, and the account must have the name of the trust. That should not be difficult, as businesses and other organisations have accounts in the name of the organisation rather than the individuals who are to sign the cheques.

It seems that as soon as the words “personal injury trust”  or “trust” are used in a bank, the transaction immediately becomes complicated. If you are lucky you will find a member of the bank staff who has dealt with a personal injury trust before, but where that experience is lacking, opening the account can become complicated. Some refer to head office, and some call in the bank’s own trust or legal department. The worst recent experience of a client was to be told off at a well-known building society for trying to hide money from the government. That is just ignorance of the law. Creating a personal injury trust is perfectly legitimate, allowed by benefit regulations which specifically allow trusts to protect compensation from the means-testing for certain State benefits and entitlements.

Please do not be put off, as accounts have been opened by all clients.  I will direct you to the banks which are most helpful.

I think the best way to approach a bank or building society is:

  1. Do not ask at the window or counter where staff are dealing with basic transactions.
  2. Do not contact telephone advice lines as the call handlers are unlikely to be able to help.
  3. Ask at a branch for an appointment for the trustees to open a joint current account.
  4. Have a copy of the trust document available.
  5. Trustees must take identification documents – check the bank website for a list of acceptable documents.
  6. Explain you want to set up a joint account for the trustees.
  7. Make sure the account has the same name as the trust.

This approach gets the best results. If you turn up at a bank or building society and say you want to set up a personal injury trust, you may be met with a blank expression. What you actually want is to open a joint current account for the trustees.

Call without obligation on 01392 314086

Some banks do promote accounts for trusts, but the number has reduced in the last couple of years. You can find my recommendations here.

I would like to hear from those who have been compensated for accidents and injuries. Please let me know the bank or building society and branch you use, as there are differences between branches, and lets discover which bank or building society has got its act together and understands the needs of those with personal injury trusts.

My second request is for information about banks and building societies which pay a decent rate of interest and allow easy access to the trust money. One bank has tried to persuade me that interest is only to be paid on a trustee account if the balance is more than £50,000.

In the interests of those trying to open accounts please share your experience by commenting below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Author: Mark Thompson

Personal injury and accident specialist solicitor

250 thoughts on “Which bank account is best for a personal injury trust”

  1. I have just opened a new trust account with Barclays. Two trustees went in to there local branch in Boston to open the account and the third trustee went in to her local branch in surrey just to show her ID. After about 7 days the cheque book arrived and then a few days later the card readers and pass codes arrived. A very smooth and rapid service. Dealing with somebody that knows what they are doing when it comes to trust accounts could well be the key.

  2. I set up a Bank Account with Cater Allen who are a wholly owned subsidiary of Santander. I had some forms to fill in and some hoops to jump through with passports and licenses and utility bills, and they were not the most diligent when it came to sending out a welcome pack, and eventually it all came together and it is up and running now.
    I would give Cater Allen a 7/10 with room for improvement and the dual signature, online authentication payment system seems to work well enough and overall I am happy.

      1. At the moment, you can open an account for a trust through a professional, or organisation, known to Cater Allen. As one of the few banks willing to open current accounts for trusts, the bank is very busy with applicatons at the moment.

  3. I had a PI trust deed made at the solicitors in 2012 and opened a trust account with HSBC. Since then I have not had my original trust deed document. I have asked on many occasions for it back from them but they always say they don’t keep original documents. I know I haven’t lost it. HSBC are now charging £8.00 a month fees, so I would like to move my account to another bank with no fees. To do this I need my original trust deed. The original price for the deed was just under £1000 . I do have an original copy unsigned and a very poor original copy. Will it cost me again for a new original?

    1. This is not a trust set up by this practice.
      You do need the original trust deed to open a bank account for the trustees. My experience is that banks take a copy of the deed and return the original to the trustees. I do not know the procedure followed to open your trustee bank account, but there is no reason for the bank to hold the original signed document.
      The trustees need to undertake a search for the trust deed.
      The banks which will open an account for the trustees are Barclays, Metro and Cater Allen. If you cannot find the deed, you could ask if one of these banks will accept a copy of the deed produced by HSBC. I suspect the answer will be no.
      If you have a copy of the signed deed, it may be acceptable for the trustees to sign a statutory declaration to confirm the copy is true and complete. The declaration should also explain what steps have been taken to find the original. Before you follow this path, check the potential banks will accept such a declaration.
      Beyond that, you could set up a new trust, open a new bank account and transfer the compensation across.
      Start with a very thorough search.

  4. Just to help others with my experience of which bank to use to set up a PIT fund account. Initially, I tried Cater Allen and I was assured that being a Santander customer already would help enormously. It didn’t I have to say and after weeks and weeks of trying to fill in their very complicated online form with all the particulars they wanted and repeatedly phoning them up for help and getting repeatedly differing information, I eventually gave up and tried another bank, which Mark said might be easier – Barclays. So, setting up for myself, as a trustee and going to a small rural branch in Wales, worked a treat and everything was done correctly. However, for my two other trustees – my sister and her husband, it was a different matter in up market Hampshire and then Dorset, where they were treated appallingly by staff, who clearly didn’t have a clue. I even had to ring up a number of times the Trust and Executors phone line at Barclays to try to get it sorted. After months of excuses, stonewallings and bunglings and 3 visits to a different branch (Bournemouth), finally it got sorted but how painful and unbelievable it all was. Perhaps, my experience is unique and perhaps Barclays has now got it’s act together but nevertheless be aware that these things can happen when trying to set up a PIT fund account. I am not entirely dismissing Barclays but you may have to persist and it may take much longer than you thought.

    1. It is very valuable to have feedback on how the banks are doing. Based on the experience of clients, I can only say that all of the banks get it wrong on occasion. Of the three banks which will open such an account, I cannot say one has fewer problems than others. On th ewhole, the banks do get it right, but the pandemic has proved very difficult for them.

  5. Mark’s advice on the best banks and building societies to use for the PIT were excellent. For our circumstances and location it turned out to be Metro Bank, who could not have been more helpful.

  6. Mark helped me set a PIT a few years ago. He was extremely helpful and professional. At the time the only bank I managed to find was NatWest and it took some time to set up. The funds are still in the same account and earn no interest, they are just under the limit apparently. What is the process for transferring the fund to an interest paying account?? Or investment that might keep the money ‘working’ a bit harder?? And does anyone have any recommendations.

    1. Your trustees are not limited to using a joint current account. Your trustees can invest in any way you can invest personally. The trust must hold the investment, so not ISAs or Premium Bonds, as these can only be held personally.
      For my clients, the most consistently helpful building societies are the Skipton and Bath building societies. i have had good reports of the Coventry Building Society too.

  7. I set up a trust with Metro Bank, who were initially suggested by Mark Thompson. It was a bit of a slow start with them but some of this was due to Covid related issues with people being off work etc. Once the process of opening an account was underway it went more smoothly. Now the account is open, Metro are polite and efficient.

      1. In general, banks are struggling with the Covid situation. In normal circumstances, banks will say 10 working days from the date they have all the information they need. I have seen the same bank open an account for one set of trustees in 3 weeks and 3 months for others.
        It will save time if you carefully check the bank website for the documents which are accepted to prove identity and address.

  8. Hi Mark,
    We all know that when a bank collapses (as the RBS nearley did before being bailed out by the goverment) that a person can have about 80K in a bank and will get that back guarenteed if their bank shouls collapse, if you had 200K in that bank you would get just the 80K back,

    So is this the same with a trust fund ? if i had 300k in a trust fund and that bank collapsed would i lose 120K ??

    if this is the case it would wipe out any benifit of having a trust fund would it not (should a bank collapse)

    Its not as if you could spread your money between a number of banks because it seems there are not many banks you can actually open a trust fund with !

    Please advise

    1. For trusts I write, the trust can invest in a variety of ways. The trust fund does not have to be held in a current account, it can be invested. I would be very surprised if you cannot do the same.
      I know interest rates are low, but a building society might be a good starting point. Two which have been helpful to my clients are the Skipton Builing Society and the Bath Building Society.

  9. Is it possible to hold more than one account in the name of the same trust? For example, can you have a Metro and Barclays account.

    1. Yes, a trust is not limited to a single trust bank account. The trusts I write have broad investment powers, the golden rule being the investment must be held by the trust.
      If you want to keep it simple, the trust could open building society accounts, the Bath Building Society and the Skipton Building Society are both helpful.

  10. We are about to open an account for my brother’s Personal Injury Trust. He was left disabled by an accident and visiting a branch would be very difficult for him. In addition, I am the second trustee and live in a different county.

    Which banks can open the account without visiting a branch?

      1. Cater Allen have closed access to new would be trustees.

        Metro Bank want a minimum of £25K

        Something is seriously wrong when so many obsticles to open a trust account are put in peoples way!

        The trustees in this case think it is not worth the hassle and may as well return the money to CICA. (£11k)

        1. It is a difficult time to be opening a current account for a trust, as only two banks will help at the moment. A number of banks have closed such accounts, making the helpful banks too busy.
          Metro Bank applies a monthly charge when the balance is below £25,000.
          At the moment, Cater Allen will not accept a direct application, but they will accept an application submitted by a professional known to the bank. The Cater Allen application can be submitted through me, as this practice is known to the bank.
          It is worth considering if a current account is actually necessary. If the money is to be held for a time, you may find it easier to open a savings account with a building society. Societies recommended by clients are the Skipton, Coventry and Bath building societies.

  11. I was having difficulty in opening a trust account at high street banks so I used Cater Allen private bank they are part of Santander group. Once all the documents are sent it takes about a week or maybe less for the account to open. There were a few questions I didn’t understand on the application so I asked Mark who was very helpful and quick to respond. Really appreciate all the help Mark, thanks for your great service.

  12. Although I was very sceptical about opening an account with the Metro Bank, I went ahead purely because of their very good customer service during my initial telephone enquiry. My two Trustees and I attended the local branch (on a Saturday!!) and the service was absolutely first class. Apart from one initial hiccup during the setting up of on-line banking (which was resolved) I am glad that I chose the Metro Bank.

  13. I’m struggling to open personal injury special need trust fund.
    I’ve been to my own bank , negative result.Visited several other banks like HSBC,Santander and same not possible.
    When I asked to open current join account in same name as trust is named ,been told it’s not possible.

    1. Banks are struggling at the moment. If you want to visit a branch, make an appointment at Barclays. To open the account without a branch visit, contact Cater Allen. If you have more than £25,000 to deposit, you will find Metro Bank will help you, at a branch or remotely.

  14. I chose Bath Bank and Building Society, as they were the only bank I found which could open a trust fund band account quickly and completely online, which was important due to the difficult Covid 19 restrictions other banks have to follow. I found them very helpful, the account was set up within a day after receiving the paperwork.

    I would also like to thank Mark Thompson for dealing with my case so quickly and professionally. Thank you, I can only recommend your services.

    1. Dear Stephanie Paternoster,
      I am a newly appointed trustee for a PIT Document. The bank recommended has rules
      for trustees? The Santander Bank (Kaiter) apparently requires a trustee to be receiving a £60,000 a
      year salary in order to qualify? Was that the same for your trustees in your situation please? Your
      help would be appreciated as we have found the legal processes and and trust deed preparations just
      an excuse for the solicitor/barrister/medics to make money out of the vunerable recipient. David T.

      1. To open a bank account, trustees will be asked to prove their identity and address. Some banks check the credit history of trustees, but I have not come across a need to show earnings of a certain level. I suggest you seek confimation, as it strikes me there may be a misunderstanding here.

  15. I understand how it can be quite long winded at the moment, but I am quite a persistent person and I ‘chase’ as soon as I haven’t heard back within 48 hours. I don’t like not knowing and I don’t like waiting. Terrible traits of mine but I like to get things done and that’s how I work.

    I called Barclays customer services a few times (as you cannot call specific branches at the moment) to find out the process and time scale to set up the trust fund and availability. I tell them I am happy to be put on hold whilst they find things out, rather than a call back, this usually makes them do things quicker. I told them the date that I needed the appointment to be on, so that they had something to work with. I asked if they had access to the specific branch’s appointment diaries so they could check availability rather than me waiting for a call back and she said she could gain access, so she provisionally booked me in. I asked them when the personal banker at my branch would call me to confirm the appointment (To manage my expectations before I hassled them again). They called the next morning to confirm the appointment. When I had the appointment at the bank, I was told it would take up to 10 days to set up, I told them I needed it set up by a certain date and can they request that it is urgent, so they did. It was set up the same day.
    The only thing I had to wait for was the cheque book which took just under a week to arrive.

    I’m not sure how to advise people to push boundaries and do what you can to get what you need, but that’s all I do, in most things in life! 🙂 persistence is key!

  16. I went to Barclays bank and was looked after by a very helpful member of staff. After our initial appointment it took a month for any paperwork to arrive regarding the account, but we got there in the end. I would recommend Barclays.

  17. We were told by Metro Bank we had to leave £25k in the account for it to be active. Can anyone else confirm this? We have an interim payment for this sum to pay in and it looks like we are heading to court now as we cannot reach an agreement. In the meantime however, we need to pay for things out of the £25K so under the circumstances this otherwise ideal account is no good for us at this stage. Have opened account with Barclays, but after 3 hours on phone to get a cheque book ordered, to be told no online banking. So frustrating….

    1. Update… after finally getting through to the trust team, they have confirmed the account can have online banking. I would rather have had the Metro account just for their customer service and branches.

    2. I know Metro Bank require an initial deposit of £25,000 to open an account for a trust. Are you saying you were told that once the balance dips below £25,000, the account is no longer active?

  18. I chose Metro Bank.

    They were not my first choice by any means. Not least because I had never heard of them, but also because they’re not prevalent on the high street, plus they were the only bank to charge £50 for opening an account.

    That said, their branches do open 7 days a week and their Trust Account provides the means for online banking, which is a HUGE benefit.

    Metro take pride in their customer service and clearly train their staff to serve us well. They have a dedicated ‘Trust Team’ and they certainly know their stuff.

    After doing some online research into the three main published ‘Trust Account’ banks.

    I tried Nat-West first. Alas they were not currently opening new accounts due to Covid19 (Aug 2020).

    Then I tried Barclays but it quickly became clear on the telephone that I already knew more about their products than the ‘Specialist Advisor’ on the other end of the phone!

    So far, Metro Bank have been very helpful, very accommodating, and very efficient.

  19. I had been trying to set up a trust fund up for months with a bank who shall remain nameless and the only one I found to help was BARCLAYS

    IT TOOK 3 apts due to trustees time off but they sorted it professionally even though we had lock down .
    They sorted a way to access monies legally but easily keeping to rules and regulations incase of future claim for benefits and what with a patient solicitor who sorted the deed paperwork I would totally recommend Mark Thompson who I found online who was half the price of other quotes and efficient service .y5bm

  20. I live in Peterborough and need a personal injury trust account for my Mother NHS compensation award.
    NatWest have told me that they no longer arrange trust accounts, I bank with Santander and Nationwide both tell me that they don’t have a trust account facility , I don’t want to use Barclays Or Metro as I have had a really bad experience over the years, which other banks can I try?

    1. I assume you already have a trust deed, as this is necessary to set up a trust. Th etrustees must then open a joint bank account.
      th ebanks which can help consistently are fe. If NatWest say no, then it is Barclays or Metro Bank. If you are determined not to us ethese banks, I suggets yu contact Cater Allen.

  21. We decided to set up a trust after my mum was involved in a serious car accident as we are expecting some form of compensation resulting in her injury. I am named as one of the trustees and after setting up the account I noticed I was receiving the bank statement from the account. We both live at different addresses therefore will this invalidate the account?

    1. When you set up a joint bank account for trustees, the bank will ask to whom statements and correspondence should be sent. The arrangement you describe sounds quite usual.

  22. My daughter is due to receive a substantial compensation amount, I have a copy of the trust document that states my wife & I as trustees, I have made 2 appointments with Lloyds stating the reasons for opening an account only to be told twice that “we don’t do them accounts” Does anybody know of a Bank/building society & a contact name in West London that can help?

    by Chris on Oct 7, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Update by myself.

    I was unhappy with the way Lloyd’s handled my request. If other people are in my situation I would look no further than METRO Bank, It took less than a hour to set up & also pays 0.2 % ( not great but Lloyds payed 0%) Good luck

    1. Clients have found Metro Bank good overall, but with inconsistencies between branches.
      My usual recommendations are Barclays and NatWest for current accounts and the Skipton Building Society for a savings account.

      1. Am just going through setting up savings accounts for my personal injury trust. Contacted a few via online chats and submitted an application to Skipton following their chat advice. All paperwork returned to me with all sorts of reasons given as to why they wouldn’t set up an account. Contacted them to follow it up and most unhelpful and inflexible and basically not prepared to accommodate current Covid situation etc.
        Subsequently identified Cater Allen, Hodge and Charity Bank all of which seem to be doing what they promised on the chat contact and all prepared to accept uncertified ID documents and emailed applications. Hodge particularly were very quick and easy to deal with and account set up within about a week.

  23. We set up a personal Injury Trust after our solicitor Mark Thompson recommended Barclays Bank. I made an appointment to go in with the other two trustees. We took passports and driving licences and the personal injury trust document which mark had prepared for us. The appointment took approx 1 1/2 hours. We were told the account would be open within 10 working days however it did take almost 3 weeks. The process was very easy to do thanks marks recommendation and the fact that Barclays have an online process for their staff to follow to aid them in opening theses types of accounts.

  24. Mark had told me of two companies that he knew did PI compensation trust accounts, unfortunately one we don’t have anywhere near us and the other I have had a long standing dislike for so wasn’t going there. My sister is with Metro Bank and as both my sisters are my trustees it seemed a good place to start. we went to a local branch in Surrey and they were great, friendly helpful and as one of my sisters had an account we didn’t need any details for her as she was on their system. my other sister was a bit more tricky as she doesn’t drive and won’t go abroad so no passport. No problem said Toby we can do it on a 3 document check and gave a list of those they would accept. Everything was set up except my second sisters details and that wasn’t a problem, just pop them in tomorrow and we will do it straight away, great as they open 7 days a week. All the documents were on their system and were printed off for us to fill in. and 3 days later got a call to say that the account was set up and the cheque book and details were on the way out to us. They have a dedicated team at head office who do these sort of accounts so it was just so easy. Thank you Metro Bank

  25. Hi do i need to pay upfront to set this up or can it come out when my claim is put in? obv having the kind off money it takes to set one up is alot! thanks

  26. My daughter is due to receive a substantial compensation amount, I have a copy of the trust document that states my wife & I as trustees, I have made 2 appointments with Lloyds stating the reasons for opening an account only to be told twice that “we don’t do them accounts” Does anybody know of a Bank/building society & a contact name in West London that can help?

    1. Barclays and NatWest are the most consistently helpful banks for joint current accounts for trustees.
      For savings accounts, the Skipton Building Society has been helpful for clients.
      Most trusts allow trustees to hold investments, so check this is possible and earn a little interest.

  27. We followed Mark’s advice and went to Barclays, who were brilliant and knew exactly what kind of account we wanted. All went smoothly and the account was set up without any problem.

  28. We tr ied Nat West, we booked appointment at branch the person there had done them before, she said it would be a withdrawal book with two signatures, next day we received debit cards and on line banking, we queried this had was told it was wrong the account hadn’t even got my name on it only the trustees we have now been given the runaround all week. area is Walsall does anyone know of a bank who can do it

    1. NatWest have set up accounts for many clients. I think the problem facing all bank staff is the bank’s computer system. You are opening a joint current account, so the computer is set to include the names of the account holders as the account name. That has to be overridden. By default, a new account will provide debit cards and internet banking. When setting up the account it is vital for the signature requirements to be set and, if there are to be two signatures, a cheque book alone should be provided. This is the part of the process known as the bank mandate, which means the instructions you give when opening an account. It is vital bank staff understand what you want from the outset, so they avoid the traps set by their own computer system.

  29. When my son received his compensation (after many years!) for a serious injury resulting from a road traffic accident, we set up a Trust Deed and went to Barclays. I was a joint Trustee with my son. It took ages to do as Barclays really didn’t seem to know what was happening. Unfortunately we did not reaslise until much later that my son had adult ADHD and Asperger and one of the characteristics of both is impulsive behaviour. In his case this was spending. Over the course of 18 months he went through all of his compensation, without my knowledge. Even though I was a Trustee the bank never told me what was happening until it was too late. Surely as a Trustee I should have been kept informed?

    1. Your relationship with the bank is governed by the initial arrangements for the account, called a mandate. If the account was set up on the basis of joint signatures, you will have a strong argument against the bank.
      You can complain direct to the bank and, if unsuccessful, to the Financial Ombudsman.

  30. My account was set up within 5 working days by Barclays, which was extremely quick and straightforward, thanks to Mark.

  31. I’m very lucky and had an easy time setting up my trust with BARCLAYS. I booked an appointment with bank and my trustees came along. She filled in paperwork and we signed she then said it had to be sent off to be approved of opening and that it could take up to 10 working days. It took around 4-5 and I had a letter to say my trust was set up and all the info with it. Amazing and quick help from Mark and Barclays. Thank you

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