Donation of Land Landowners can choose from three types of donations:
- Outright donation grants full title and ownership to the conservation organization, community or government agency receiving the donated property.
- Donation by deathtime transfers property through a will.
- Donation with a reserved life estate permits the landowner to use the donated property during his or her lifetime and the lifetimes of designated family members.
- Donation provides total protection for a wetland.
- Landowners can receive income tax deductions and possible estate, gift and property tax breaks.
- Land trusts and conservation organizations, which may not have the budget to buy wetlands, can fulfill their mission to protect wetlands.
- Outright donation requires little negotiation and can be completed quickly.
- Donation at deathtime allows the landowner and their family to retain interim control and full use of their property, while ensuring protection after the landowners’ death.
- Donation with reserved life estate allows the landowners and their family to continue to live on the land, while ensuring it future protection.
- The landowner forfeits potential income from the sale of the land.
- Maintenance and other associated costs taken on by the land trust or organization may be more costly than a conservation easement.
- There is no income tax deduction for a donation by deathtime transfer.
- The landowner is responsible for property taxes as long as they remain in possession of the land.
- Many land trusts may not be able to accept the donation without additional funding for an endowment to support long-term management of the property. Tax relief from donation with a reserved life estate generally applies to farms and personal residences, and in some cases wetlands may not qualify.