There are many ways to protect the conservation value of your property through land donations, selling your land at a bargain rate, or working with the Franklin Land Trust to establish a conservation restriction. Many of the options result in tax benefits for you and will put dedicated land stewards in charge of managing the property that you have come to love and value for generations to come.
Your legacy can live on with future generations by donating land for conservation purposes. Outright donation is the best option if you do not wish to pass your land onto heirs, own property that you no longer use, own significantly appreciated property, or own a large amount of property and are concerned about estate tax burdens that you may pass on.
Donating land can provide substantial income tax deductions and estate tax benefits, while avoiding any capital gains taxes that would have resulted from selling the property. The responsibility of managing the donated property will be put in the hands of experienced land stewards. By donating your land, you will be preserving it for future generations.
If you wish to continue to live on and enjoy your land, donating a remainder interest and retaining a reserved life estate may be the best option for you. While you retain the right to live on your land, you will continue to be responsible for routine expenses including maintenance fees, insurance, property taxes, and repairs. If you decide to no longer live on your property, you may rent all or part of your property in cooperation with the Land Trust. When you pass away, the Land Trust receives full title and control over the property and takes over stewardship responsibilities.
By donating a remainder interest, you may be eligible for an income tax deduction when the gift is made and still enjoy the land for your lifetime.
If you wish to maintain ownership and control of your land, but assure its protection after your death, donating by will may make sense to you. Before donating by will, work with the Franklin Land Trust to make sure that your property fits within the scope of the land that the Land Trust is willing and able to protect.
Selling your land to the Franklin Land Trust at a bargain price will protect your land and provide you with an immediate income. Essentially, you will sell your land at a price below fair market value making it affordable for the land trust while offering several benefits to you. You will receive cash, avoid some capital gains taxes, and will be entitled to a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the fair market value and the price it was sold to the Land Trust for.
Conservation Restrictions are legal agreements that permanently restrict the use of land with the goal of protecting its conservation value. Conservation Restrictions allow owners to use, sell, or pass land onto their heirs.
When donating a conservation restriction to the Franklin Land Trust, you give up some commercial, development, and industrial rights associated with a parcel of land. Due to the flexibility of restrictions, you may still be able to retain the ability to farm, build additional agricultural structures, or harvest wood. It all depends on the conservation value of the property and how the restriction is set up. Restrictions may only apply to a portion of the land, and may restrict or deny public access. If sold, future owners of the property will be bound by the restrictions terms. The Franklin Land Trust is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the terms of the restriction.
Working with the Franklin Land Trust to create a conservation restriction for your property may result in property tax savings. Sometimes Conservation Restrictions are essential tools for passing land on to your heirs. Removing a parcel of land's development potential, restrictions lower its market value, resulting in lower estate taxes. Restrictions can be donated during your lifetime or by will and may provide your heirs with the ability to keep your land intact.