A land trust is a revocable living trust. A land trust gives you no tax protection. You won’t pay any less tax because you have a land trust. And you really don’t have any asset protection. What then is its value? The answer is “anonymity.”

It becomes extremely difficult for some trial lawyer to track you down and drag you into court. They have to go through a lot of barriers to find you. With a land trust you own the land placed within the trust because you own the trust. For example, you can own an LLC and take title to the property in the name of the land trust. The LLC becomes the beneficiary of that land trust. You can appoint a family member, a friend or whoever you choose, even another entity, as the trustee. The trustee and the beneficiary are known to the public, but you have the opportunity to hide out.

Putting your personal residence in a land trust is an excellent idea. From the IRS perspective it’s a revocable trust. It’s not a business asset, it’s just a trust.

What are the pros and cons of a land trust?

On the pro side:

• it hides the true owner/beneficiary of the property

• it provides seasoning of title

• it potentially avoids the due on sale clause in mortgages with “subject to” purchases

On the con side:

• it is revocable

• there are no tax benefits

• closing transactions can be difficult in some states

• there is additional paperwork and costs