President Donald Trump has transferred 71 properties—including Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Trump Park Avenue and Trump World Tower into Revocable Living Trust; he will not serve as Trustee however, that role he will left to his sons, Donald and Eric.
His ground lease on 40 Wall Street and interest in the 1290 Avenue of the Americas office tower, which he co-owns with Vornado Realty Trust, and other properties, have not yet officially been transferred. It’s unknown whether his primary residence, a penthouse at Trump Tower, will eventually be transferred into the trust, which is registered in New York and already holds many of Trump’s other ownership entities for properties outside of New York.
At a press conference in January, then President-elect Trump announced that he would move all of his assets into a trust not controlled by him, to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interests. He also said that the trust would have an independent ethics adviser not affiliated with the Trump Organization and an internal officer to monitor compliance.
The Director of the Federal Office of Government Ethics and others denounced the move. They insist that Trump can only truly avoid conflicts of interest by completely divesting from all his holdings, rather than just a transfer to family members and company associates.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser, announced that he’d place many of his assets into a family-controlled trust and step down as CEO of his family firm. Although Kushner has done more to address potential conflicts than his father-in-law, ethics experts have also raised concerns about whether transfers of interests to family members is a true divestment.
Revocable trusts, or living trusts, are used in estate-planning. A revocable trust is a trust in which provisions can be modified or canceled by the grantor. During the life of the trust, income earned is distributed to the grantor. After his or her death, the property transfers to the beneficiaries. Trump can control the trust until his death while keeping the earnings.
Reference: The Real Deal (January 30, 2017) “It’s official: Trump begins transferring NYC properties into trust”