Oklahoma Land Trusts Guide
Guide to Land Trusts in Oklahoma
Land trusts have become a common and versatile tool in estate planning and property management, with the potential to provide numerous benefits to landowners in Oklahoma. If you own real estate in the Sooner State and are exploring options for protecting your assets, managing your property efficiently, and ensuring a smooth transition of ownership, a land trust could be an excellent solution.
What is a Land Trust?
A land trust is a legal arrangement where the legal title to a property is transferred to a trustee while the beneficial interest remains with the property owner. The trustee holds and manages the property on behalf of the beneficiary, who can be the property owner or another designated party. Oklahoma law specifically allows trusts to own real estate.
Privacy and Anonymity
Trusts offer a layer of privacy and anonymity for property owners. When a property is held in any form of trust, the owner’s name is not recorded in the public records, providing an additional level of security and confidentiality. This is true for land trusts, as well as revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.
Land trusts are a legitimate form of asset protection – they can shield your real estate from potential legal judgments, creditors, or liabilities. As discussed below, a land trust should be an irrevocable trust in order to have legitimate protection from judgments and creditors; this is done by placing the control of the trust assets in the hands of a party who operates at an arms length. Asset protection is one of the primary benefits of a land trust.
Efficient Estate Planning
Land trusts are an essential tool for a well-designed estate plan. By using a trust, you can streamline the transfer of real estate to your heirs or designated beneficiaries, avoiding the complexities and delays of probate court as well as many taxes. This can result in substantial cost savings and a smoother transition of property ownership.
What Type of Trust is a Land Trust?
Land trusts are typically structured as irrevocable trusts, meaning they can’t easily be changed during the trust maker’s lifetime. The trust maker also must typically transfer their ownership to a corporate trustee or other independent trustee to fully separate themselves from prior ownership and the ability to control the trust assets. An irrevocable trust can also help minimize estate tax liabilities and maximize Medicaid protections.
How to Create a Land Trust in Oklahoma
Land trusts require a written trust agreement, sometimes called a trust declaration, which outlines the terms and conditions of the trust, select a trustee to manage the trust, and name the beneficiaries of the trust. A properly-drafted deed is also required to formally move the property from private ownership into ownership by the trust for trustee management. Creating a trust should be done using experienced legal counsel. Unfortunately, our firm often corrects the trust-drafting mistakes of online templates and attorneys who are inexperienced with the specifics of how real estate and estate planning laws mix.
Avenue Legal Group has the knowledge and experience you need to create an effective land trust for properties throughout Oklahoma.
Our process is simple: we listen to your unique needs and goals, we find solutions that accomplish your goals, we prepare the documents that are right for you and customized to your circumstances, and we organize a quick and legally binding signing conference.
Contact us to discuss whether a land trust is right for you, or for other estate planning needs.
Have Questions?Contact Us