The Richmond Land Trust can help landowners use a variety of strategies to preserve their land, its resources and legacy for future generations while achieving other, more immediate personal, family and financial objectives. Among the conservation methods successfully used are:
Donating a Conservation Easement: Many landowners can protect their land, reduce their taxes and retain ownership and use of the property by donating what is called a conservation easement. Usually, landowners choose to specify that practices such as agriculture, forestry, recreation and other open space uses can still take place on the property. Property taxes can be lowered, and the donation may also qualify as a charitable income tax deduction.
Donating Land: Beyond the conservation benefits, simple donations of land can bring even greater tax benefits, including avoidance of taxes on capital.
Donating Remainder Interest: Donors can continue to live on and use the land for their lifetimes, after which the title transfers to the conservation organization. As with other conservation strategies, owners can enjoy tax advantages while assuring that family lands are permanently protected.
Bequests and Living Trusts: For maximum flexibility during their lifetimes, some landowners choose to donate property or easements through their wills. Using a bequest, landowners direct the executor of their estate to carry out their conservation wishes. With a living trust, landowners accomplish the same results but avoid probate. Either way, estate taxes can drop.
Sale to a Land Trust: Sometimes a conservation organization will make an outright purchase of an exceptional property in order to preserve it. Because of the generally high prices involved in these types of transactions, public and private fund-raising is often needed to bring them to a close.
Bargain Purchase of Easements and Land: Landowners can sell their property to a conservation organization for less than full market value, and take the difference between the sale price and the full value as a charitable tax deduction. Landowners generate some income but avoid incurring large tax obligations.
Right of First Refusal, or Option: Landowners not ready to make an immediate donation or sale might consider granting a right of first refusal, giving a conservation organization the chance to match a future purchase offer. Or, a landowner might sign an agreement to protect a parcel from development for an established period of time so that a conservation group can raise funds needed to protect a parcel.
Itís all up to you.
The decision to conserve oneís land is a highly personal one, with opportunities for creating a lasting legacy unique to every landowner. For a confidential discussion of your many options, please contact Acquisition Committee Chair Lou Borie, 434-4638, or click here.