Delaware Statutory Trust Act

In a real estate context, Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs) have become the legal entity of choice for 1031 exchange co-ownership investments. A DST is operationally similar to a partnership, but has the added benefit of being eligible for a 1031 exchange (pursuant to IRS Revenue Ruling 2004 -86), whereas other legal entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships, c-corps and s-corps do not qualify for 1031 exchange purposes.

A Delaware Statutory Trust is a legal entity constructed under Delaware law. Despite the name, neither its investors nor its underlying investments need to be located in Delaware. The DST is a product of the Delaware Statutory Trust Act (Del. Code Ann. Title 12, §§ 3801 - 3824) which provides DSTs a great deal of structural and organizational flexibility, while offering similar liability protection to that of an LLC or partnership.

In the context of a 1031 exchange investment, multiple investors pool their equity in a DST. Each investor owns their proportionate share of the DST, which in turn owns the underlying property. Investors are known as “beneficiaries” of the Trust and the IRS treats DST interests as direct property ownership, thus qualifying for a 1031 exchange.

DSTs are typically “packaged” by a sponsor who acquires a property, secures financing and retains property management prior to interests being offered to individual 1031 investors. Each investor owns their proportionate share of equity in the DST and is entitled to their proportionate share of income produced by the DST.

Much like an LLC or limited partnership, the DST structure shields investors from property-related liabilities. A DST is a “bankruptcy remote” entity providing protections from creditors of individual beneficiaries from placing liens against the property, giving greater security to lenders and other beneficiaries. DSTs are typically financed with non-recourse debt which limits a lender’s remedies to the DST’s underlying property and beneficiaries of a DST do not carry any personal liabilities under the loan.

Are DST & TIC Investments Right for You?

Investor's Guidebook to Fractional 1031 Replacement Properties

Realized DST eBook on multiple devices

Delaware Statutory Trusts (DST) and Tenant-In-Common (TIC) properties are a popular option for 1031 exchange investors, but they do have their drawbacks.  This eBook will help you answer:

  • How do fractional 1031 investments work?
  • What are the pros and cons?
  • What are the risks?
  • Does a DST or TIC fit my long-term goals?
  • How do I find DST or TIC properties?

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