The next line in the old joke about a fly in the soup has the offended patron asking the waiter: “what is he doing in there?!” To which the clever waiter replies: “it looks like the backstroke, sir.” Please excuse my bad take off on the joke, however, some estate planners might react similarly upon the suggestion of a REIT in a GRAT. That is, until they discover how much “flavor” this combination really has.
Non-traded REITs are popular and widely held alternative investments with billions of dollars flowing into them annually. It’s an oxymoron to call a widely held asset “alternative,” but so it goes in the industry. They are typically sold on the basis of portfolio diversification into commercial real estate and relatively high yields in the form of dividends. It’s not uncommon to find non-traded REITs yielding between 5% – 7% even in the early stages. But what do they have to do with GRATs?