Donating Conservation Easement: A Useful Gift That Lasts a Lifetime

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Despite having a tough economy, many people are still finding ways in order to help others, from volunteering to different organizations to giving free meals to the poor. If you are one of these people who want to make a change but don’t know how to help, I have a good suggestion to make. If you are fortunate enough to own a piece of land in Tampa, one valuable thing you can do is donate a conservation easement.

What is a conservation easement?

Essentially, a conservation easement is a legal binding agreement between a landowner and qualified conservation organization, such as a land trust or government agency. The easement is either voluntarily donated or sold by the landowner, which contain permanent restrictions regarding the use of the land to protect its conservation values, such as its historical and ecological resources. This means that when you donate a conservation easement, you give up some of the rights associated with your property. For instance, you give up the rights to build future structures, but still retain the rights to farm your land. The terms of this agreement are individually tailored to meet your particular needs.

Why should you donate a conservation easement?

As what mentioned, if you are one of the many people who want to make a change, gifting a conservation easement is one of the best ideas you can make. But aside from this, you may want to donate a conversation easement for a variety reasons. If you love your land and have a strong desire to protect it so your family and future family can still use it, then you may want to consider a conservation easement. It’s imperative for you to know that a conservation easement doesn’t take away the title to the property from you. In this agreement, you are still the legal owner and have all the rights to use your land, provided that it doesn’t interfere with the terms of the agreement.

Perhaps, the most important advantage of this binding agreement is that it provides a number of tax benefits, such as federal income tax savings and estate tax reduction. Since a property that is under a conservation easement agreement removes the possibility of the land to be developed, the market value of the property is lowered, which in turn, lowers its potential estate tax. Often, estate taxes make it difficult for the landowners to keep their place intact because the tax rates are so high, especially when the grantor dies. As a result, the family sells the land in order to pay for these taxes, which of course, most landowners don’t want to happen. By donating a conservation easement, you as the landowner, helps your heirs to not face a whopping inheritance tax bill and ensures that they will still own and enjoy the land that you’ve worked hard for to have.

Conservation easements have been used for several years by landowners as a way to protect their land while providing general public benefits. And for many years, this gift has successfully helped thousands of properties and landowners in the U.S. If you are interested and would like to know more about conservation easement, as well as further understand this type of agreement, find a real estate attorney in Tampa. Definitely, a good real estate lawyer is a must. The reasons to get a good lawyer are obvious. First, to be able to fully understand what this agreement truly means; second, so you can get an effective guidance during the process; and third, to help you understand the complicated issues regarding taxes. You may also want to determine the benefits of this agreement, other than the ones mentioned.

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