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The process requires that you engage the services of someone called a qualified intermediary to hold the funds. “Qualified” does not mean that the entity has been determined by the IRS, or anyone else, to be qualified to do what they will be doing.“Qualified” means that they are not disqualified because they are your agent or a member of your family—in other words, not independent.First, don’t accept the assurances of the qualified intermediary about their honesty, integrity and responsibility, even if it happens to be true.
The qualified intermediary has traditionally used the funds to speculate in the stock market, or wherever they can find the highest return, since they keep all of the profits.
But because high returns are accompanied by high risks, the funds have been lost or stolen by the qualified intermediary.
A qualified escrow account is where your escrow agreement with the qualified intermediary expressly limits your rights to receive, pledge, borrow or obtain any benefits from funds held in the escrow account, but the funds are held in your name and not the name of the qualified intermediary.
A qualified trust is just that, a trust, and you are the beneficiary.
Proving to the IRS that you did not have “possession of, nor control over, the funds” and that the third party really was “independent” can be a problem later.