Are you a nature lover who is the owner of acres of undeveloped land, looking for ways to preserve it and provide a community benefit? It could be property that you also live on, or land that you use just for recreation. Perhaps the idea of selling to a developer makes you unhappy. Even if you are planning to preserve the land for lifetime benefit of your heirs, there are ways you can preserve the land for the public’s use in the future.
Numerous charitable organizations own and manage open space lands for public access. There are many ways to structure a gift. Here are a few. These are general ideas, and you need to evaluate your particular situation with your attorney and CPA or financial advisor to assess the estate & gift tax ramifications.
One option, of course, is to sell the land to the organization for less than fair market value. The differential is potentially a tax-deductible donation.
An outright gift during your lifetime transfers ownership and full control to the organization, with no reserved rights. If the organization qualifies under secn 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, such gifts would be eligible for charitable deduction treatment in the year of the donation, to the extent allowed by law.
A bequest of land to the organization upon your death, through your Will, can be a charitable gift that reduces your taxable estate.
You can give the organization a Conservation Easement, which is a permanent restriction against development of the land. You are retaining the ownership and use of the land, but development would be restricted. The easement has value, and can reduce the remaining value of the land and its value in your estate.
If you reside on the property, you can transfer it to the charity and reserve a life estate. You retain the rights to dwell on the property and to use and enjoy it, and you remain responsible for its costs as long as you continue to live there. If you pass away, the property will be fully owned by the organization.
You may want to transfer your property to a trust, with life rights to your family and remainder interest to the charity.
There are many stable, bona fide natural lands conservation organizations to consider as part of your estate planning. Charitable giving enables you to extend your good fortune to make the world a better place.
Call us for an appointment to discuss your estate planning needs 732-382-6070
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation