A deed of trust is a legal document that pledges real property to secure a loan, similar to a mortgage. A deed of trust involves three parties: the borrower (called the grantor), the lender (called the beneficiary), and a third party (called the trustee). The trustee is an independent third party that holds legal title (legal title is non-possessory) to the property, for the benefit of the lender, until the borrower pays off the loan.
The borrower maintains actual title to the property and maintains full responsibility for the property throughout the repayment process. Once the loan has been paid in full, the trustee will cancel the deed of trust and restore full title of the property to the borrower.