Donating land for conservation purposes is truly one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. The staff and volunteers of GLT would be delighted to talk with you about the various types of conservation land donations as well as the process of making a donation of land or an interest in land.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR LAND DONATION
A number of tax programs have been enacted to provide financial incentives for the donation of land and interests in land to conservation organizations. Depending upon the circumstances of the donor’s estate and the terms of an individual gift, these can include:
- Deductions to federal and state income taxes in the year of the gift or in later years
- Reduction in the size of a taxable probate estate
- Relief from town real estate taxes
The value of a gift for these purposes is based upon a professional appraisal of the interest being donated. Greenwich Land Trust is a qualified recipient of conservation land donations, but it is not a tax advisor and cannot provide advice on how tax laws may apply in individual cases. Because the effect of the tax laws depends on the individual circumstances, it is important to consult your professional tax advisor.
Most of the donations to GLT have historically been outright gifts of parcels of land. One such gift is Shell Island, donated by Julius Silver in 1990.
TYPES OF LAND DONATION
Here is a brief description of the many different forms that conservation land donations can take:
- Land Donation: This is a charitable donation of land which is given over immediately to GLT. The land trust takes title to the property, assuming full ownership and future care of the property.
- Easement: It is possible to give an interest in land such as an easement or permanent restriction against development – in that case the donor would still own the land itself (thus preserving the original acreage of the property), but GLT would have the right to enforce the conservation covenant. Please see box below for an important update on conservation easements.
- Gift of Future Ownership: Another method of donation is to make a gift of future ownership – the donor would retain use and possession of the land during his or her lifetime, while GLT would become the owner upon the donor’s death or other named event.
- By Will: Some donors have made gifts of land to GLT by instruction in their will.
- Neighborhood Purchase and Donation: In other cases, groups of neighbors have joined together to conserve a special area near their homes.
Greenwich Land Trust will work with you and your professional advisor to find a donation method that most closely fits your goals and circumstances.
THE LAND DONATION PROCESS
Donating land for conservation purposes to Greenwich Land Trust (GLT) is a straightforward process with a set of sequential steps. These steps ensure clear communication between a potential donor and GLT. Click Here for a primer to acquaint yourself with the process, timeframe, and costs.