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  • Joel Votolato

Demystifying Massachusetts Real Estate Nominee Trusts

In the realm of Massachusetts real estate, nominee trusts have emerged as a popular mechanism for holding and managing properties. However, for many, the concept of nominee trusts remains shrouded in mystery. This blog post aims to shed light on nominee trusts, particularly in the context of Massachusetts real estate, offering insights into their purpose, structure, benefits, and legal implications.

Understanding Nominee Trusts: A nominee trust, also known as a Massachusetts nominee realty trust or nominee real estate trust, is a legal entity commonly used for holding and managing real estate assets. Unlike traditional forms of property ownership, such as sole ownership or joint tenancy, nominee trusts provide a flexible and confidential way to hold title to real property.

Key Elements of Nominee Trusts:

  1. Trustee: In a nominee trust, the trustee holds legal title to the property on behalf of the beneficiaries. The trustee can be an individual or a corporate entity.

  2. Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are the individuals or entities that hold beneficial interests in the trust. They are entitled to the benefits and income generated by the trust property.

  3. Trust Agreement: A trust agreement outlines the terms and conditions governing the trust, including the powers and duties of the trustee, rights of beneficiaries, and procedures for trust administration.

Benefits of Nominee Trusts:

  1. Privacy: One of the primary benefits of nominee trusts is privacy. Since the trustee holds legal title, the names of the beneficiaries are not typically disclosed in public records, providing anonymity to property owners.

  2. Asset Protection: Nominee trusts can offer asset protection benefits by separating legal ownership from beneficial ownership. This separation may shield trust assets from personal liabilities of beneficiaries.

  3. Estate Planning: Nominee trusts can facilitate estate planning objectives by allowing for seamless transfer of property to designated beneficiaries upon the death of the trustor (creator of the trust).

Legal Considerations:

  1. Compliance: Nominee trusts must comply with Massachusetts trust laws, including requirements for trust creation, administration, and taxation.

  2. Tax Implications: While nominee trusts may offer certain tax advantages, it's essential to consider the potential tax implications, including income tax, gift tax, and estate tax consequences.

  3. Fraud Prevention: Although nominee trusts provide privacy, they have been subject to misuse for fraudulent purposes. It's crucial to ensure the legitimate and lawful use of nominee trusts to avoid legal repercussions.


Nominee trusts serve as a valuable tool for real estate investors, offering privacy, asset protection, and estate planning benefits. However, navigating the legal landscape surrounding nominee trusts requires careful consideration of relevant laws and regulations. Consulting with a qualified legal professional experienced in Massachusetts real estate law is advisable for individuals seeking to utilize nominee trusts effectively and lawfully.

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