Why Consider Donating Your Land to the Conservancy?
Landowners may consider donating their land for many reasons. The biggest factor in their decision is often their emotional connection to the property or the area. The land may have been in their family for generations. Many landowners do not have heirs and simply can’t stand the thought of their land being developed into something unrecognizable to them. Others may have children who don’t share the same emotional connection to the land and would not protect it in a way that the owners would like.
Many landowners would like to leave or donate their land to a land trust but still need some income from their property. Fortunately, that need not prevent a landowner from seeing their land protected forever. There are ways to both protect the land and provide the landowner with financial stability. Here are just a few of the options available to landowners. Of course, we work with the landowner to employ the best tool to meet their conservation and financial goals.
Land can be given to a land trust as an outright donation, or it can be donated in other ways, such as through a remainder interest or a bequest. Most land is donated for its important conservation values and is protected in perpetuity; however, commercial and residential property can also be donated to a land trust with the understanding that it will be sold to support the organization’s conservation work.
Donating land to a land trust can be an effective conservation strategy if you do not wish to pass land on to heirs; own highly appreciated property; no longer use the land you own; wish to reduce estate tax burdens; or are no longer willing or able to manage and care for the land. By donating land to a land trust, you may realize substantial income and estate tax benefits while avoiding capital gains taxes that may have resulted from the sale of the property.
A gift of a remainder interest (also known as a reserved life estate) is granted when a landowner donates land to a trust during his or her lifetime, but reserves the right for him or herself, and any other named party, to continue to live on the land until their death(s) or voluntary release of the interest. As a donor of remainder interest, you may be eligible for income tax deductions.
Land Donation by Will or by Devise
With this option, you can continue to own and manage your land during your lifetime, but still ensure its ultimate protection by donating land to the Conservancy through your will. This is called a gift by devise. If you are interested in donating an easement or land through your will, please contact us to discuss your plans.
You may want to protect your land permanently but be unable or unwilling to relinquish that land without receiving financial compensation. In this case, you may choose to sell your land to a land trust. The property may be sold at fair market value or at a price below fair market value, which is referred to as a bargain sale. This option is usually reserved for properties with very high conservation value, and often money must first be raised to support the project.
These are some of the more common conservation tools used by land trusts.
There are many other strategies employed, as well.
Contact us for more details or options by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 570-278-9500.