"A nominee trust is 'an entity created for the purpose of holding legal title to property.'" Goodwill Enterprises, Inc. v. Kavanagh. Record title for the property held in a nominee trust is in the name of the nominee trust's trustee (not its beneficiaries), but such trustees "are often viewed as agents for the convenience of the principals (i.e., the beneficiaries)." Id. But what is the nature of a beneficial interest in a nominee trust? Is it more like an ownership share of a corporation or does it constitute a real property interest in the property held by the nominee trust?
Nominee trusts are common vehicles "for holding title to real property in which one or more persons or corporations, pursuant to a declaration of trust, declare that they will hold any property that they acquire as trustees for the benefit of one or more undisclosed beneficiaries." Berish v. Bornstein The trust is the record owner of the property, with the trustee(s) (but not the beneficiaries) named on the deed, thereby offering privacy to those beneficiaries. Nominee trusts also streamline ownership among multiple parties because the trustee(s) can act on behalf of all beneficiaries for matters concerning the property. Additionally, nominee trusts simplify transfers of ownership among beneficiaries, both by avoiding the recording process and also by excluding the subject property from probate.