Escrow services provide the ability for two parties involved in a transaction to have a third party regulating and monitoring the payment of that transaction. Because the third party escrow agent is neutral, both parties can safely make the transaction without worrying about fraud or loss of funds.
Real Estate Escrow Accounts
An escrow account holds funds paid by you, the homeowner, that will eventually pay certain property-related expenses. They can be used for a number of things, from construction and remodeling projects and hold down payments in a secure location, to the most common usage, establishing a fund via monthly contributions from a homeowner to pay for property taxes and liability insurance.
When you establish an escrow service account, your annual real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance are estimated, based on your most recent bills and premiums. An incremental amount of these expenses is added to your monthly mortgage payment, in order to cover these expenses when they are due.
Each year, your account is reviewed by escrow agents to determine if the amount being escrowed each month is sufficient to pay for any change in your real estate taxes or homeowner’s insurance premiums.
Business Escrow Services
When your company is completing an important business transaction, it is not uncommon for the parties involved to use business escrow services to manage the agreement. Escrow accounts are commonly used when your company is engaging in:
- Mergers or acquisitions.
- Selling high-value equipment, property, or vehicles.
- Legal disputes and litigation.
In these arrangements, the buyer will typically place funds into the escrow account, and the parties involved in the transaction will create a legally binding agreement, listing out what items need to be completed in order to transfer the funds out of escrow. By depositing funds into an escrow account with a neutral third-party that are escrow agents, both the buyer and seller have greater confidence that the transaction will be completed to the satisfaction of both sides.
Our Bank Escrow Services
Our bank escrow services are a legal arrangement in which we serve as your neutral third-party escrow agent. Money is deposited with our bank and is delivered when certain conditions, as established in a written agreement, are fulfilled. While not all escrows impose the duties of a legal trustee on the escrow agent, we are committed to upholding a fiduciary standard with our work, meaning that until the conditions are met, we are bound by our fiduciary duty to maintain the escrow account.
Selecting First Western Trust as Your Escrow Agents
Often, in the process of making a real estate or business transaction, you will need to place some of your funds in escrow accounts. While this is a common occurrence, some banks are reluctant to accept the responsibility of being an escrow agent. This is typical because many banks feel there is a significant liability in escrow management services, or they believe that bank escrow services do not generate enough fees for the time required to monitor the terms of the escrow.
At First Western Trust, our experienced fiduciary team is available to discuss how we can support your escrow service needs. As a fiduciary, First Western Trust has the professional expertise and resources required to serve as a neutral third-party agent. We abide by the fiduciary standard of care and act solely in the best interests of our clients when offering financial advice.
We provide both security and confidentiality, and we differentiate ourselves by:
- Being a local organization positioned for quick document review and approval.
- Offering flexible cash management
- Using a fiduciary approach to financial planning.
Our fees are determined on the basis of the anticipated activity necessary to fulfill the terms of the escrow — some escrows are a single transaction, while others may involve a series of transactions. Frequently, our escrow services are based on a flat fee negotiated and disclosed prior to acceptance of the relationship. In many instances, our fees are lower than commercial banks.
For further information on our escrow management services or to discuss your needs, whether real estate or business escrow services, contact our fiduciary team at 303.531.8100 or fill out the form below.