Planning the succession of your family’s land is a complex endeavor, and there are a variety of conservation options available. SVT is proud of the work that we do with private landowners throughout the region to help develop conservation plans that are tailored to the specific needs of the landowners.
Significant tax benefits may be realized through land conservation. It's always important that a landowner work with his or her own tax professional, though SVT can offer some general guidance.
Protecting your property while Conveying Ownership
Donating your land to a nonprofit conservation organization
or government entity is the most straightforward means of permanently conserving land. Donation means permanently conveying ownership of land to such an organization or entity, which is then responsible for the long-term care and management of the property. Learn more about donating land.
Selling your land to a nonprofit conservation organization
is an option for landowners who are not able or willing to donate their land for conservation purposes. Learn more about selling land.
Protecting Your Property while Maintaining Ownership
A Conservation Restriction
(called a conservation easement in other states) is the most common conservation option used by landowners who want their property protected from future development but still want to maintain ownership. Conservation restrictions are voluntary between a landowner and a qualified conservation organization, such as SVT. Conservation restrictions may be sold or donated. Learn more about conservation restrictions.
A Reserved Life Estate is another conservation option for landowners. When donors give a gift of land with a reserved life estate, they and their beneficiaries may continue to use the property during their lifetimes or for a specified period of time. At the end of the specified term, ownership is transferred to the land trust. In some cases, the trust may resell the land,subject to a permanent conservation restriction. Tax benefits to the donor can vary depending on life expectancies – the longer the period of expected use for the donor, the lower the value of the gift for tax purposes. Consult your attorney and accountant when considering charitable contributions.
Donating Land by Bequest is often done by landowners who wish to live out their lifetimes on their property. To ensure the perpetual protection of their land after they are gone, such landowners may choose to bequeath it to a land trust in their will. No income tax benefit is achieved through such a gift, but it may ease an estate tax burden on heirs. Before including a gift of land in your will, it is important to confirm with the recipient land trust that it is willing and able to accept such a donation.
For more information about land conservation, please contact:
- Christa Collins, Director of Land Protection, (978) 443-5588 ext. 15