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keep home address private how to vanish

Keep Your Home Address To Yourself

by Bill Rounds Esq. on April 8, 2010

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

The recent civil unrest in Kyrgyzstan is as violent and severe as any in recent months. Even though it is one of those countries I had hardly ever heard of, some interesting things occurred in the upheaval there. I am as ignorant as anyone when it comes to the politics and policies of this central Asian state, but one of the reported reasons why Kyrgyzstanians revolted was because of rampant favoritism of close friends and family by the president, excluding almost all others from the most lucrative economic activities. Not only was the president chased out of the country, but the houses of several of his family members were burned down by rioters.  They forgot to keep their address private.

So what does rioting and burning of a few houses in such a remote part of the world have to do with me? The lesson to draw is not just that nepotism makes some people mad. More importantly for us, when it comes to your own privacy and security, it doesn’t matter that you yourself are not a public figure, your family ties to a public figure might make you a good secondary target for unwanted attention and intrusion. You need to take the proper steps to secure your privacy in case their “fame” spills over onto you.

Property Ownership Is Public Record

Property ownership in the US and many other countries is a matter of public record. That means that anyone who wants to know what property you own, or if someone wants to know who owns any particular parcel, can just look it up. In many cases, the amount of any mortgages on a property are publicly known as well. This is good for would be grifters, makers of Hollywood star maps and Kyrgyzstani rioters, but not for you. Many people who are in the public eye and who have gobs of money for a legal team are already aware of this and protect themselves with the appropriate measures. So, what can you do if you are related to a local or national politician, a school board member, a disc jockey, a judge or even Judge Reinhold?

Keep Your Address Private

The first option is to become a renter. Tenants names are not public record and so, as long as you can find a trustworthy landlord, you should be alright. If you want to have more say in the type of roofing material which will be installed next fall, renting might not be an option. In that case, hold title to your property with a trust. The trust will be the public record owner of the property, you will simply be the beneficiary and the beneficiary is not public record. Don’t forget to be creative with the name of the trust. If Tony Hawk wanted to keep anyone from finding his house, he should definitely have avoided holding title in the name of the Tony and Lhotse Hawk family trust. Another option is to use an LLC to own property. Although this by itself is not as private as a trust, a structure combining trusts and business entities can be excellent privacy protection.  You should consult with your attorney to form a trust or a business entity to hold property.

Conclusion

If you, or even your family member, have a very public professional position which may draw unwanted attention to your private family life, take appropriate steps to avoid public disclosure of your home address with the use of a ghost address. Renting, using a trust or a business entity to hold title to your residence can keep unwanted attention from being directed at your private life or that of your family. This can be especially important for vacation homes that you do not want to create unjust tax liability in a place that is not your tax free state home.  Hopefully your family is never run out of town by violent rioters, but at least if they are, you can get the book How To Vanish and keep your marshmallows in the bag because there will be no extra bonfires going on at your house.

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10 comments

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Rounds, Esq. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Utah and a law degree from California Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and financial freedom and civil liberties. This is merely one article of 123 by .
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephen April 20, 2010 at 5:57 am

Good idea. I find it has worked well right up until I get to the driver’s license bureau, where they insist on knowing where you sleep at night – not just your mailing address. And of course the power company knows your name and the address of the apartment you rent, even if you use another mailing address. Any ideas on that?

2 Trace Mayer, J.D. April 20, 2010 at 8:41 am

Stephen, it is not uncommon for people to travel often, have multiple homes, vacation homes, etc. When it comes to ‘residency’, which is a legal term, it can be very fact dependent and therefore unique to each individual situation based on the jurisdiction and therefore this is not to be considered legal advice. The DMV is one of the easier institutions to deal with. You would want to retain Bill for your individual situation and certain aspects of privacy are definitely not free. The short answer is: it depends and there are many strategies to approach this.

First, you may want to change your perspective. if you adopt the PT/International Man mindset and no longer view yourself as a serf or slave tied to a particular manor or plantation but instead as a sovereign individual endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right to movement as discussed in the Magna Carta. You can always be ‘on vacation’.
Second, in general if you rent one of your abodes with all utilities, etc. included, pay with cash and the landlord understands your desire for discreetness then it can be very difficult for anyone to locate your abode(s). Then if you have a ghost address where you receive mail the trail can get harder to find and turn into dead-ends.
Third, when it comes to the DMV and their geographic discrimination you will want to follow applicable laws. Speaking hypothetically, if you have 10 different abodes and travel frequently between them all and the DMV only wants one address then which one should be given? Of course, that gets back to the laws of the applicable jurisdiction. Often law enforcement will ask questions in an attempt to get you to make statements that may incur liability such as some states requiring that you submit a change of address after a certain number of days of moving, etc. How should you respond? Are you ‘on vacation’ in that jurisdiction? The BUSTED video should be watched by everyone.
Fourth, as a general tip, try to view through the bureau-rat’s lens trying to keep track of the livestock, serfs and slaves. I recommend people keep their addresses for a long time. Then nothing appears out of the ordinary to the bureau-rats.

3 RJ Davis September 21, 2010 at 6:46 am

I don’t believe there is a 100% fool proof way to remain totally hidden from the public eye so to speak. At best you may keep the most harmless of them from your doorstep. The real “stalkers” will find a way.
Protect your family and property with the latest in high tech security products that are available today. There are now camera serveilance systems for less than the cost of a dinner. Keep a big junkmail dumpster handy too.

4 Brad January 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I have decided that I will use a relative’s address as my main address or my business address. My mailing address will be a PO Box or a private mail box. I will no longer provide my real address to any government or business entity because it will then go into a database for all to find. I will no longer register to vote as anyone can get your information from the voter registration office. My properties are in land trusts and everyone that owns property should have a land trust to keep your identity and information private. Everything today is for sale and social websites like Facebook are selling your information and making millions of dollars.

5 Jay Marx May 17, 2012 at 10:31 am

If not already discussed, may I share an obstacle I encountered on Drivers Licenses? In the post 9-11 hysteria/power grab, several (20?) states agreed to share info to prohibit simultaneous licensing in more than one state. Although CA (my res) allows PO Boxes on DLs after a starlet was stalked/killed via public info years ago, I suspect shared info has physical address also. I provide extended care for a PA relative, and thought a PA license might add convenience, until learning of the law. Technically with a 30-day registration limit on entry, I would have to buy 6 licenses/yr (travel back & forth) to comply! IDIOCY! (CA license lasts 5yrs!) Along with LLC formation plans after $$ escape from my CA house (I hope!) I wonder if any ‘good’ LLC states are also non-participants in the ‘compact’ and if a resident agent ( or temporary address during LLC formation) could be used for DL receipt? I see NO anti terrorist benefit from this ‘compact’ since almost 1/2 the states are NON participants, only freedom loss!

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