An instrument that is used in place of a mortgage to provide security for a loan. Local custom generally dictates if a deed of trust or mortgage is utilized by the lender. A deed of trust involves a third party called a trustee, usually a title insurance company, who acts on behalf of the lender. When the borrower signs a deed of trust, he/she is giving a trustee title to the property, but the borrower holds the rights and privileges to use and live in, or on, the property. The trustee holds the original deed for the property until the borrower repays the loan.