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Are Land Trusts Good For Anything?

September 30th, 2013

Posted in Asset Protection

A land trust is “an express written agreement or arrangement by which use, confidence, or trust is declared of any land […] under which the title to real property […] is vested in a trustee.”  Fla. Stat. § 689.071.   It is an average tool at keeping property ownership partially concealed from prying eyes, but it does not generally offer great asset protection from creditors.  Most land trusts are self-settled trusts.  Self-settled trusts are trusts that are formed by the property “owner” for the benefit of the same.  Self-settled trusts typically offer little to no asset protection for the property “owner”/beneficiary.  When a creditor properly seeks, through the discovery process promulgated by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, disclosure of property that the beneficiary has an interest in, the beneficiary will usually have to disclose the land trust property.  Once disclosed, the property of the self-settled land trust may be subject to the creditor just the same as if the property were held individually by the owner.  Many attorneys maintain that land trusts offer little to no asset protection and are simply a facade giving the illusion of protection while providing the benefit of limited privacy.

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