Partners Mike and Joanna want to sell off their property in one of the most happening areas of Denver, Colorado. However, the couple are not willing to reveal their identity. They fear that it could lead to problems with negotiating the best deal for the property. Similarly, Michelle who owns large tracts of farm land just outside Springfield. She too wants to remain anonymous while wanting to sell the property. If you too are caught in such a position and wondering whether it is possible to remain anonymous with trying to transfer, build, rent, transfer or sell your property? The answer is a resounding “Yes”. The solution lies in what is known as the ‘Land Trust‘.
What is a Land Trust
The working mechanism of such a trust is quite simple to understand. It is actually a private legal contract, under which you, the owner of the property, would transfer the title of the property to a trustee. As the owner you will still continue to have all rights over the property. You could for example, sell the property. You could also transfer it to an heir. Alternately you could rent it. If you want you can also build something on it too. All this and no one would know that it is you who are doing it. Given the several benefits it offers, it is not surprising that land trusts are becoming popular by the day.
The example of Walt Disney World is a good case in point in how land trusts work. In the early 1960s, Walt Disney was eyeing vast tracts of land in the Florida swampland. However, the tycoon knew that if he were to go around knocking doors of property owners personally, that would automatically drive up property prices in the area, for people would want to make the most of the deal. After all it is not every day that a business tycoon comes home asking for property. This is when Walt Disney decided to purchase land through several unknown trusts.
There are several benefits of land trusts. Let us take a look at them one by one.
As mentioned earlier, the very reason why someone uses a trust is to be anonymous. No one will know that you own a particular property. When your financial dealings or bank accounts are protected by privacy clauses, why should your real estate properties be made part of public records, is the argument put forward by those in favor of the trusts. The fact that privacy is protected additionally offers the land owner protection against entities such as creditors, taxmen or attorneys who may want to seize the land for various reasons.
Keeping price, a secret
Supposing you want to sell your property by using a land trust, you can always keep the deal a secret. No one will know how much you sold the property for. Conversely, if were to buy a property too, you can keep things to yourself. In fact, this kind of secrecy is what drives many people towards these trusts.
Advantage in case of Judgments
There could be instances when several people could be beneficiaries in a trust and a judgement has been passed against one of them. In such cases, the judgement passed will be only on the interest of the beneficiary and not lien on the property. What this means is that the other beneficiaries can continue to enjoy the full benefits of the trust without having to worry about the judgement.
Agriculture land benefit
There could be instances when farming families would want to pass on their agricultural properties to their next generation. However, they could be worried that the heirs could partition the property. They need not worry, for it is not possible for the heirs to partition the property, in the case of a trust.
Protection from ownership issues
There are times when people could go bankrupt or there could be situations arising when there could be legal issues arising affecting a beneficiary. Usually what happens in cases of real estate development is that a court would typically appoint an executor who would in turn oversee the continuation of the particular project. However, the entire process could drag on and lead to delays. This is not so in the case of a trust. For even if a beneficiary were to become bankrupt, it would in no way interfere with the trust’s working. In the case of multiple beneficiaries, the other beneficiaries can relax, as they know that the trust would be carrying on its business as usual.
Helps avoid unnecessary lawsuits
It is a well-known fact that lawyers are always on the lookout for filing cases against those who own prime pieces or vast tracts of property. With trusts though, they would never be able to find out who owns the property.