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Tax ID for a revocable living trust

Santa Clarita, CA |

I recently just got a revocable living trust setup for my wife and I. For some of the financial institutions that we are trying to retitle our accounts at, they are asking me for the tax id for the trust. Can anyone clarify this? would this just be our social security numbers since we are the trustees and grantors.

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Attorney answers 3


Hi -


Amazing - 5 % of the banks still mess this up .. usually its the credit unions

Uzzell S Branson IV

Uzzell S Branson IV


Of course, you could get a tax ID number if you feel like it, but most clients do not. There are occasionally advantages to doing so, but they may not apply to you.


Yes - your social security number would be the applicable number. Once a person dies and the trust becomes irrevocable, a separate tax ID number would be required and a separate trust income tax return would then be due.

Robert Paul Bergman

Robert Paul Bergman


A revocable trust in California does not automatically become irrevocable on the death of one spouse. Whether or not some or all of the trust becomes irrevocable depends completely on the type of revocable trust drafted. For example, if the trust provides that everything passes directly to the surviving spouse, then no separate tax ID would be needed. Only the social security number of the surviving spouse would be needed. If, on the other hand, the deceased spouse's share of property passes into one or more irrevocable trusts created to benefit the surviving spouse and/or children or others, then those irrevocable trusts would require a separate tax identification number.


Yes, it is either of your social security numbers, unless your trust specifies whose social security number is to be used.

Revocable living trusts are "grantor trusts," which means that they do not exist as separate tax entities for state and federal income tax purposes. All interest and dividend income, capital gains and losses, etc. are reported under your own social security numbers and directly on your own 1040 income tax returns as well as your 540 tax return for California.

If the bank still insists on you obtaining a tax identification number after pointing this out to them, then you always have the option to take your business to another bank. If you do so, make sure to let your old bank know why you are moving your accounts. It's the only way they learn.

Please remember to mark what you believe to be the best answer to your question. This answer is provided by estate planning attorney Robert P. Bergman, with offices in San Jose, California. Mr. Bergman is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law (State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization), and has been practicing since 1980. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is only intended to provide general legal advice within the limits of the question asked. If you wish to create an attorney-client relationship for specific legal advice, it will be necessary to enter into an engagement for legal services. More general legal information about wills, living trusts, and estate planning can be found at Mr. Bergman's main website at, or his information website at Mr. Bergman also offers free living trust seminars and wealth preservation seminars at his offices in San Jose. For those unable to attend a live seminar, an online living trust seminar may be viewed or downloaded at

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