First, let’s agree that privacy is very difficult these days. At every turn someone is demanding your Social Security number, birth date or other personal information. In many cases, you must decide whether to give in and give your SS number to do business or to maintain your privacy and not get what you want.
Today’s businesses don’t seem to care that Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal information is the key to keeping everything we’ve ever worked for safe and private. Many of us capitulate and will hand over the key to everything we’ve ever done, bought, sold, said or studied our entire life.
A Virginia Land Trust will not solve these problems. What it will do is keep your personal name out of the front line of public record.
When you transfer the title of real estate from your personal name to a Virginia Land Trust, the trust becomes the owner; your name is no longer shown as owner of that property. The property is no longer legally yours under your personal name once transfer has occurred, therefore, in public record the trust shows ownership.
If your name is not shown as the owner, the proper party for a tenant law suit would be the Trust, the owner of the property. That’s not all bad, right?
One of the first actions a tenant plaintiff attorney will do is to access the assets of the property owner. The court house or land records office is the first stop. Your name is not there. Instead they find the name of a Land Trust. That will tell the attorney that this is an owner that knows a thing or two about how things are done.
Often this will lead the plaintiff attorney asking for a upfront retainer from the tenant which he/she may not have. At that point, the whole issue may disappear.
Understand, a Virginia Land Trust is not the end to all for these kind of issues. But it is an essential and important first step.
I will have more about this in upcoming comments.