Other Options for Protecting Your Land

Maybe a conservation easement isn’t quite right for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to protect your land and conserve its natural, cultural or historic value for future generations to enjoy. Other conservation options include:

Short-term habitat restoration agreements. Short-term restoration agreements center around a specific task, such as stream renovation or prairie restoration, to take place on your property with the help of a government agency or other partner. You and the partner set the terms and duration of the agreement, usually 10 to 30 years. This option can give you the opportunity to accomplish a conservation goal and get to know and trust a potential conservation easement partner before putting something permanent into place.

Resale of your land. If you need to sell your land but want to ensure it is conserved and not developed, you can work with a land trust to place a conservation easement on the land before you put it on the market or to help identify suitable buyers. You can also choose to sell your land to the land trust for less than its fair market value, which would provide you with some cash while helping you to avoid some capital gains tax and claim a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land’s fair market value and its sale price.

Donating your land. You can donate your land for conservation purposes without placing a conservation easement on the land. If you do so, the land trust or other donation recipient might retain ownership of the property as a permanent preserve or transfer the property to a suitable owner, such as a government agency. In some cases, they might sell the land to a private owner, subject to a conservation easement held by the land trust. You can claim the full market value of the donated land as a tax-deductible charitable gift, if the recipient is a nonprofit organization.

Donation with a lifetime income. If you’d like to donate your land but need to continue to receive income from it, you can donate your land to a conservation group in exchange for a life income agreement. These agreements come in a few different varieties; two options are a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder unitrust.

Only you will be able to decide the best course of action to conserve your land. But whatever path you choose, there are partners willing to help and resources to get you started. Our resources and state-by-state guide can help you find your way to the option that is right for your land and your legacy.

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