Would You Like Your Name in the News?

2 Nov

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: November 2, 2011
Expanded content

Lost in this age of the internet is almost any hope of privacy and confidentiality.

I suppose if I won the lottery I wouldn’t mind my name appearing all over the
Boston Globe or the Herald; but I wouldn’t want my name publicized if it came
from the police blotter – or a new home that I bought.

Buy a home, and your neighbors, relatives and fellow employees can read about it in the newspapers. Want them to know how much you paid and the details of your mortgage, you don’t have to say a word. They’ll know in a New York minute!

Real estate transactions are published in many local town or neighborhood newspapers – and appear all over the web!

People who want to protect their personal information from public disclosure can use a number of techniques. Since newspapers report the names of buyers that appear on deeds, the most common privacy technique is to substitute a “Trustfor the buyer’s name on the deed.

Rather than your name appearing on the deed as the new owner, designate a Trust that you own and control instead. If done right, your privacy is protected.

The typical real estate trust is simply a legal device in which a person who is named as trustee follows the directions of the beneficiaries or real owners; i.e. you.

The first step in creating a trust is to choose a name for the trust. The second step, and this is the key for privacy purposes, is to choose a person other than yourself to serve as trustee. It may be a friend, lawyer, accountant or financial advisor.

When the newspaper reports your purchase, it publishes the names of the trust and the trustee – who is someone other than yourself. Privacy is thus protected.

Using a Trust is not without its pitfalls. It can, for instance, make getting a mortgage more difficult, depending on the type of mortgage and the lender you wish to use.

While many banks have no problem providing a mortgage loan where title to a home is held in a trust, mortgage brokers and lenders who sell all their loans often will have a problem. Thus, sensible planning is essential.

If you’re interested in using a trust for your home, contact me. I’ll be glad to help with your real estate or estate planning needs.

 ©2011 George Warshaw. All rights reserved.

__________

George Warshaw is a well-known attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at george.warshaw@warshawlaw.com.

Legal Advice: Laws, and court decisions interpreting them, change frequently and this article is not updated as laws change. The content and information contained in this article is neither intended as legal advice nor shall establish an attorney-client relationship. Before making any legal decision, consult an attorney to see how the foregoing may apply to your particular circumstances.

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