There’s more than one way to own property. Most people, though, just own it outright. Their name shows up in the county deed records for all to see. What if there was another way to own property, a way that may offer more privacy and protection? Read on to learn more about the benefits gained by establishing a Florida land trust.
The Florida Land Trust Act allows a revocable trust to own real property. The trust, then, is owned by its beneficiaries. In fact, the beneficiary or beneficiaries have full control of the property and may even add additional property to the trust. There’s no firm deadline for when the trust ends. Instead, the trust retains the assets until the beneficiaries terminate the trust.
Florida land trusts are fairly simple to establish. Typically, only two documents may be required: A Deed in Trust, and a Florida Land Trust Agreement. However, this type of ownership offers some significant benefits.
Deeds are used to transfer property ownership.
However, deeds are recorded with the county recorder, which makes them part of the public record. Anyone can look at deed records and, in fact, many property records are available to view online.
With a Florida Land Trust, however, the details of the property ownership remain private. The trustee’s name is the only name that should appear in the public record.
As mentioned above, beneficiaries continue to control real property placed in a land trust. In addition, trust beneficiaries retain most rights of ownership. This includes the option of claiming a homestead exemption on the property.
Generally, property held in a Florida land trust is not vulnerable to civil judgments and liens lodged against individual beneficiaries. In fact, beneficiaries of a land trust are less likely to be targeted in lawsuits. The trust might be sued, but not the beneficiaries.
Florida Land Trusts may be established by:
Let’s say that XYZ Partnership wants to buy property but doesn’t want its ownership interests to be public knowledge. The partners decide to buy the property as The Anon Group Trust. The trust document is drafted and signed by Micky Jones as trustee, with XYZ Partnership named as sole beneficiary. Details of the trust remain private, though, because the trust document does not have to be recorded. Micky Jones is the only individual’s name associated with the real property.
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