CONSERVATION EASEMENT –
Leaves land in private ownership and can result in a federal income tax deduction and reduced property and estate taxes. This is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land conservancy or government agency that permanently limits the property’s uses in order to protect its conservation values. When you own land, you also “own” many rights associated with it. When you donate or sell a conservation easement to a land conservancy, you permanently give up some of those rights. For example, no further development of structures, natural resource mining, or subdividing parcels. Any future owner of the land will also be bound by the easement’s terms. The document is written using a legally approved template developed by attorneys who are specialists on conservation easements guided by Michigan law. The details are then tailored to each landowner and the landscape to be protected. Easements can be written to protect rare habitat or species, waterways and wetlands, woodlands, significant open space, or even productive farmland, and therefore the specifics of the document consider how to protect those conservation values in perpetuity. The land conservancy takes on the responsibility and legal right to enforce the easement by regularly monitoring the conditions. If a violation is detected, an effort is made to get it corrected but the use of legal remedies is pursued if all else fails. Contact us if you have questions or are considering a conservation easement. We are happy to talk to you and review your land and goals – firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAND DONATION –
Can result in a substantial federal income tax deduction. This is the finest legacy a person can leave to future generations and it may be the best strategy if you do not wish to pass the land on to heirs; own property you no longer use; have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce potential estate tax burdens; or would like to be relieved of managing and caring for land. If land is donated because of its conservation value, it will be protected as a nature preserve for the benefit of the public trust.
Other options: 1) Donating a remainder interest; 2) Donating land through a Will. Contact the Conservancy with questions on these options or for additional resources – email@example.com.
BARGAIN SALE OF LAND –
Combines income producing benefit of a sale with federal income tax reducing benefit of a donation. The land is sold below fair market value which makes it more affordable for the land conservancy, provides immediate cash but possibly avoids some capital gains tax, and entitles you to a charitable federal income tax deduction based on the difference between the fair market value and the sales price.