What are the circumstances appropriate for using a nominee trustee?

In this episode of Coffee with Carl, attorney Carl Zoellner guides you through the process of using a nominee trustee. 

Trustee me, you’ll want to hear this. 

Okay enough with the puns, I want to cover using a nominee as a trustee for your land trusts. 

In previous episodes, I’ve talked about nominees where it can be an individual, let’s talk about using an LLC. When you create a nominee trustee for a land trust, the reason we might do this is to provide an additional layer of anonymity. 

Traditionally, when a client wants to use a land trust and have an additional layer of anonymity, we can use an individual. For our company, a lot of times that individual is going to be Clint Coons, he can serve as trustee. In that way what would show up on title of a property would be Clint Coons as trustee of, the name of the trust, let’s just call it Main Street Trust, dated, and then the date the trust was established. 

Now, we can use that same concept, but I can use an LLC to fulfill the same purpose, so in that case, let’s call it Main Street LLC, we could say Main Street LLC as trustee of Main Street Trust, dated, and then list the date the trust was established. 

The biggest benefit is that your individual name does not need to be on the trust as trustee, therefore you retain or even increase your level of anonymity, because it no longer shows up on the deed of the property. 

Where would we use these types or this type of setup using either a person nominee or an LLC nominee? Probably best suited for investment properties, but you could even use this scenario for a personal residence where you want to retain, say homestead exemption in your state, and then we make the living trust the beneficiary, so it’s part of your estate plan. 

Just to make sure everyone’s crystal clear here, you can use an individual or an LLC as a nominee trustee on your trust, and the purpose is to increase the level of anonymity for that property, because the trustee’s name is what goes on the title of a property. 

The Takeaway 

So if you’re using a nominee, you’re basically obscuring the actual owner of the property, and that is what gains you that extra level of anonymity. 

As always, take advantage of our free educational content and every other Tuesday we have Toby’s Tax Tuesday, a great educational series. Our Structure Implementation Series answers your questions about how to structure your business entities to protect you and your assets. One of my favorites as well is our Infinity Investing Workshop.

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