In the typical UPREIT, the partners of the Existing Partnerships and a newly formed REIT become partners in a new partnership termed the Operating Partnership. For their respective interests in the Operating Partnership (“Units”), the partners contribute the properties from the Existing Partnership and the REIT contributes the cash proceeds from its public offering. The REIT typically is the general partner and the majority owner of the Operating Partnership Units.
After a period of time (often one year), the partners may enjoy the same liquidity of the REIT shareholders by tendering their Units for either cash or REIT shares (at the option of the REIT or Operating Partnership). This conversion may result in the partners incurring the tax deferred at the UPREIT’s formation. The Unitholders may tender their Units over a period of time, thereby spreading out such tax. In addition, when a partner holds the Units until death, the estate tax rules operate in a such a way as to provide that the beneficiaries may tender the Units for cash or REIT shares without paying income taxes.