Broker Check

Benefits of Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs)

March 02, 2021

A Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) is a legally recognized trust, used in a variety of transactions and structures. Its flexibility of operation and management, plus the limited liability granted to beneficial owners, have made the DST a popular vehicle for a wide array of business purposes. A DST may own one or more properties across diverse asset classes: multifamily residential real estate; net leased retail; medical office portfolios; industrial property, among others. Here are some other benefits:

No Management Responsibilities

DSTs are managed by professional, third-party firms. For investors transitioning from actively managing properties to passive ownership, this alleviates the burden of day-to-day management and replaces it with the freedom of time for travel and leisure.

Tax-Sheltered Monthly Income Distributions

Distributions from cash flow are paid monthly. Because DST investors are deemed to have direct ownership of real estate, the benefits of direct ownership, such as mortgage interest deductions and depreciation, flow through to investors on a pro-rata basis. Because of this, income from DSTs is often tax-sheltered, making for a greater tax-equivalent yield.


Because of the fractional-ownership and low minimum investment of DSTs, clients are able to replace their investment with a portfolio of commercial real estate that provides diversification of asset class, geography and even DST sponsor. This helps to mitigate investment risk.

Ease of Ownership

The rules and deadlines of a 1031 exchange, such as the “45-day identification period,” can be difficult to maneuver. DSTs are pre-vetted and already acquired, ready for an investor’s exchange. The closing process into a DST can take as little as two business days. For investors at the end of their 45-day ID period who have not yet found a suitable replacement property, DSTs can offer an immediate and simple solution. For this same reason, DSTs also make for great back-up properties, in case there are complications with a sole-property acquisition.

Higher-Value Real Estate

A DST is a pooled-equity investment which allows investors to collectively purchase a property of higher value by aggregating their equity together. This allows DST investors to purchase properties that would otherwise be out of a single investor’s reach. As an example, a DST investor could go from owning 100% of a local apartment to owning 1.20% of a $50 million class A apartment complex in Denver, CO.

Estate Planning

DSTs, like traditional real estate upon an owner’s passing, provide heirs with a step-up in cost basis. This means that heirs do not receive the owner’s original cost basis, but a “stepped-up” basis as of the date of death. This is true even if the owner has performed multiple 1031 exchanges. DSTs can also relieve the anxiety and problems that can occur when real estate is transferred to heirs.