Is a Conservation Easement Right for You?

A conservation easement is legally binding and usually permanent, so you’ll want to think carefully before agreeing to it. Here are some key things to consider:

Forever is a long time. The restrictions set by your conservation easement will apply for centuries to come, regardless of how the landscape changes, how your own goals for the land change, or what your descendants wish to do with your land. Are you sure you want to make your vision for the land permanent?

Setting up a conservation easement isn’t free. It’s crucial to have your attorney and tax advisor review the legal documents that establish the easement, and you’ll have to pay the fees for their services. You may also have to pay for appraisals of your property and administrative fees associated with verifying your ownership of the property. If you enter into the agreement, you may also be required to contribute to a fund that covers ongoing stewardship and enforcement of your easement. Have you assessed your current financial situation and your short-term and long-term financial goals?

Finding the right easement holder is essential. Your conservation easement creates an enduring relationship between your land and the easement holder, whether that is a government agency or a land trust. That’s why it’s important to choose a holder that shares your values and your vision for your land, and has the capacity and skills to monitor and enforce your easement in the long term. Have you identified your goals and desires? Is your potential partner on the same page?

If you’ve considered these questions and still feel certain that a conservation easement is right for you, the next step is actually getting it done.

Next: Setting Up a Conservation Easement 

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