Deed of Trust Law and Legal Definition

A deed of trust is a document which pledges real property to secure a loan, used instead of a mortgage in certain states. A deed of trust involves a third party called a trustee, usually a title insurance company or escrow company, who acts on behalf of the lender. When you sign a deed of trust, you in effect are giving a trustee title (ownership) of the property, but you hold the rights and privileges to use and live in or on the property. The trustee holds the original deed for the property until you repay the loan. When the loan is fully paid, the trustor requests the trustee to return the title by reconveyance. If the loan becomes delinquent the beneficiary can file a notice of default and, if the loan is not brought current, can demand that the trustee begin foreclosure on the property so that the beneficiary may either be paid or obtain title. Unlike a mortgage, a deed of trust also gives the trustee the right to foreclose on your property without taking you to court first.