Here is a wonderful win-win situation to consider. If you own real estate property, you can give or sell at a bargain price a conservation easement to a conservancy organization like Block Island Conservancy. You would continue to be the owner of the property, and it can always be sold or passed on to heirs. You may wish, however, that the property never be developed or changed. This is what the conservation easement is all about, and it can significantly help you tax-wise. Already many easements are in place forever all over Block Island.
According to Land Trust Alliance, a conservation easement (or conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, and they can also sell it or pass it on to heirs. An easement may apply to all or a portion of the property, and need not require public access.
Perhaps the most important benefit, a conservation easement can be essential for passing undeveloped land on to the next generation. By removing the land’s development potential, the easement typically lowers the property’s market value, which in turn lowers potential estate tax. Whether the easement is donated during life or by will, it can make a critical difference in one’s heirs’ ability to keep the land intact. (Land Trust Alliance)
A landowner sometimes sells a conservation easement, but usually easements are donated to a land trust. If the donation benefits the public by permanently protecting important conservation resources,and meets other federal tax code requirements, it can qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation. Easement values vary greatly; in general, the highest easement values result from very restrictive conservation easements on tracts of developable open space under intense development pressure. In some jurisdictions, placing an easement on your property may also result in property tax savings. (Land Trust Alliance) Talk to your financial advisor for more information.