Is it possible to shield or withhold my name from the public land records?
This is a common question from homebuyers and existing homeowners; perhaps more so from the Washington Beltway clientele we serve.
For various reasons of privacy, many folks would prefer to not have their individual names appear in the public land records. For them, their options are limited but here are some of the methods by which individual names can be shielded from public view.
By Revocable Trust
Establishing and vesting title in a revocable trust is probably the most common privacy vehicle. This is because it is the most practical, given that most homebuyers obtain financing, and most lenders are willing to loan to the trust. It also serves as a favorable estate planning tool.
By Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Establishing and vesting title as an LLC also serves to shield the individual names but, generally, because few residential lenders are willing to loan to an LLC, this privacy vehicle is more commonly used by cash or commercial property buyers.
By Realty Trust
Akin to those reasons described for an LLC, a realty trust is more often used by cash and commercial property buyers. Very few residential lenders are willing to loan to a realty trust.
Keep in mind that for any privacy vehicle you may wish to utilize, it is very important to consult legal and/or tax counsel since vesting or transferring to these entities may have burdensome tax consequences. Additionally, its important to seek confirmation of coverage from your homeowners/hazard insurance carrier since certain entities may be excluded from your coverage.