How Celebrities Keep Their Addresses Private

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A couple of weeks ago, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks made the news not for what he did on the field, but what he purchased off as the Seattle Times reported on his recent home purchase.  But what if you don’t want nosy folks to know what property you just purchased and how much you paid for it? Fortunately, there is a relatively easy solution.

Unlike some of our neighboring states, Washington has an open system of searchable information pertaining to real property transactions. With limited computer skills, it is possible to find out who owns real property, when they bought it, what they paid for it and the assessed value history. Before the age of computer searches, to obtain this information would have required actually searching the records at the County Recorder’s office, the County Assessor’s office and the County Treasurer’s office, a daunting undertaking for all except the experienced professional. Now it is available to anyone with an internet connection in a matter of minutes with a few key strokes.

For those who for various reasons wish to preserve their privacy, there is a perfectly legal solution. And that solution is to take title to the property in “Blind Trust.” While taking title in a blind trust will not hide the information as to purchase price and assessed value, it will completely mask the identity of the true owner of the property.

If you are considering acquiring valuable property and do not want the publicity the acquisition would attract, contact the Wealth Transfer Team at Helsell Fetterman.

About the Authors

Laura Hoexter

As chair of the firm’s estate planning and probate group, Laura Hoexter’s practice focuses on wills, trusts and estates. She works with individuals to help them establish foundational documents, such as tax-saving wills and living trusts, financial and health care powers of attorney, and health care directives. She addresses complex issues that may arise, including non-citizen status, retirement benefit planning and life insurance arrangements. Laura has significant experience helping clients meet their more advanced estate planning goals, including the formation of charitable trusts and private foundations, as well as all types of irrevocable trusts such as life insurance trusts, special needs trusts, and qualified personal residence trusts.

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