Legal Dictionary

trust deed

Legal Definition of trust deed

See also

Definition of trust deed


trust deed (plural trust deeds)

  1. (law) A deed conveying property to a trustee, for some specific use.

Further reading

Trust deed (real estate)

In real estate, a trust deed or deed of trust, is a document wherein specific financial interest in the title to real property is transferred to a trustee, which holds it as security for a loan (debt) between two other parties. One is referred to as the trustor the other referred to as the beneficiary. In its simplest terms the trustor would be the receiver of money and the beneficiary would be the lender of money. The trust deed document most likely would be recorded (constructive notice) with the County Recorder where the property is located as evidence of and security for the debt. When the loan is fully paid, the monetary claim on the title is transferred to the borrower by reconveyance to release the debt obligation. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the trustee has the right to foreclose on and transfer title to the lender or sell the property to pay the lender from the proceeds.[1][2]

Trust deeds are the the most common instrument used in the financing of real estate purchases in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia whereas most other states use mortgages. Deeds of trust can also be for loans made for other purposes but where real estate is used for collateral, and to secure performance of contracts other than loans.


Trust deeds are commonly called mortgages in the real estate loan business, though a mortgage is technically an entirely different legal instrument, due to the functional similarity to a mortgage deed.

Layers of trust deeds

There are three parties to a deed of trust, the trustor (the borrower in a loan situation), the trustee, and beneficiary (lender), as opposed to a mortgage with which there are only two parties, the mortgagor (borrower) and the mortgagee (lender).


  1. "Deed of trust legal definition" West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008
  2. NOLO Glossary - "trust deed"


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     lex situs
4.     respondent
5.     default judgment
6.     tort law
7.     living will
8.     lex causae
9.     law
10.     salacious