Land Trusts are an exceptional vehicle to hold title in Florida real property for homestead and investment property alike. They offer numerous benefits for both U.S. Citizens and foreign individuals. However, they are unique, and must be properly understood to ensure that they are being utilized properly and effectively. We have a great deal of experience working with Land Trusts.
We can advise you on and prepare the necessary documentation for:
- Land Trusts
- Deeds into and out of a Land Trust
- Letter of Directions
- Property Management Agreements
- Asset and liability protection
Vaughn Law has experience working with lenders and title companies to ensure Land Trusts are handled properly in each transaction. We have built relationships with lenders and insurance companies that will work with land trusts.
If you are interested in establishing a Land Trust or have questions about Land Trusts, contact Vaughn Law at 727-223-6080 for a consultation.
What are the benefits of a Land Trust?
- Confidentiality and Anonymity – The Trustee is the only name on the face of the Land Trust. The Land Trust Agreement between the Trustee and the Beneficiary is confidential; therefore, it is difficult to determine the beneficiary of a Land Trust and who actually owns the property.
- Liability Protection – According to Florida Statute, neither the Trustee nor the Beneficiary of a Land Trust are personally liable for the property. Investors often use their limited liability company in conjunction with their Land Trust to offer further protections.
- Prevent Liens and Judgments – Liens and judgments normally attach to all property owned by the same individual. Each Land Trust name is unique and has a different name, so a lien against a property owned in a Land Trust will only attach to property held in that specific Land Trust.
- Probate Avoidance – A Land Trust can be set up to automatically transfer title in the property to whomever is referenced in the Land Trust Agreement, upon the death of the Beneficiary, without the requirement of court proceedings. This is a huge time and money saver!
- Homestead – A Beneficiary of a Land Trust may own property in a Land Trust and qualify for Homestead protections. This is a huge benefit! Property owned in a corporation or LLC does not qualify for homestead.
- Privacy of Sales Price – When a property is purchased, doc stamps are paid on the purchase price. The amount of the doc stamps paid is referenced on the top of the Deed, which makes it very easy for anyone to calculate the purchase price of that transaction. However, with a Land Trust the purchase price can be kept a secret by paying the doc stamps directly to the Department of Revenue.
What are the Downfalls of a Land Trust?
Even though Land Trusts are becoming more and more popular, they are still widely misunderstood. Many people just do not know enough about Land Trusts, and therefore they treat them as an irrevocable trust. Title Companies often attempt to impose the same requirements as irrevocable trusts in order to get the transaction completed. You will need to have a good understanding of the Land Trust requirements or you will need an educated advocate to ensure your rights are protected, and the transaction is completed properly.
Additionally, not all service providers will work with Land Trusts. Often insurance companies incorrectly insure the trustee as the owner. Many insurance companies simply refuse to insure property held in a Land Trust. Most lenders will not loan funds to a Land Trust, typically commercial lenders are the only lenders who will work with a Land Trust borrower. Additionally, lenders often require a personal guaranty from the beneficiary of the Land Trust.
Finally, it is nearly impossible to open a bank account in the name of the Land Trust. You will need to open the bank account in the name of the Beneficiary, which can eliminate some of the benefits of confidentiality, however there may be ways around this to continue to protect your anonymity.
Trustee: The person designated in the recorded instrument or trust agreement to hold title to the trust property of a land trust or other trust.
Beneficiary: Any person or entity having a beneficial interest in a Land Trust.
Land Trust: Any express written agreement or arrangement by which a use, confidence, or trust is declared of any land, or of any charge upon loan, under which title to real property, including, but not limited to, a leasehold or mortgage interest, is vested in a trustee by a recorded instrument that confers to the trustee its powers and authority.
Power of Direction: The authority of a person, as provided in the trust agreement, to direct the trustee of a land trust to convey property or interests, execute a lease or mortgage, distribute proceeds of a sale or financing, and execute documents incidental to the administration of a land trust.
Duties of the Trustee:
- The duty to convey, sell, lease, mortgage, or deal with the trust property, or to exercise such other powers concerning the trust property as may be provided in the recorded instrument, in each case as directed by the beneficiaries or by the holder of the power of direction;
- The duty to sell or dispose of the trust property at the termination of the trust;
- The duty to perform ministerial and administrative functions delegated to the trustee in the trust agreement or by the beneficiaries or the holder of the power of direction; or
- The duties required of a trustee under chapter 721, if the trust is a timeshare estate trust.
Can I put more than one property in a Land Trust?
Can the Trustee and the Beneficiary of the Land Trust be the same person?
Can I put my homestead in a Land Trust?
Can a Successor Trustee be appointed as the Trustee of the Land Trust?
The Title Company handling the sale of my property has requested a copy of the Land Trust to confirm ownership, do I have to provide the Land Trust Agreement to them?
Get in touch with us
Vaughn Law offers its clients a different, more personalized and service orientated approach, by tailoring its representation to its client’s needs. At Vaughn Law, we understand that this may be an overwhelming, unfamiliar and stressful time for our clients, therefore we strive to help our clients understand the intricacies of the legal system and to keep them informed throughout the process.