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Introduction to Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs)

Introduction to Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs)

February 26, 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.

In accordance with I.R.S. Revenue Ruling 2004- 86, beneficial interests in a Delaware Statutory Trust may be considered “like-kind” replacement property in a Section 1031 exchange. Title to property is held by the trust as a separate legal entity for the benefit of a beneficial owner, rather than directly, affording liability protection to the owners. Interests in the DST are considered securities under federal securities law, however, they retain treatment as ownership in real estate.

For exchange purposes, DSTs are 100% passive, turn-key investments offered by nationally recognized real estate management companies, referred to as “sponsors.” Sponsors perform the initial due diligence, structure the property acquisition, maintain and lease the property, collect rent, service the mortgage and eventually sell the property. 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.