Land Choices: Changing Development in America
Land Preservation Agreement (conservation easement)

NOTE: We use the term "land preservation agreement", which is the same as a "conservation easement". 

A land preservation agreement (conservation easement) is a voluntary 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.

The landowner continues to own the land and the easement does "run with the land" and is binding to future landowners, but the land can be sold or given to heirs just as any other private property. Donating the land preservation agreement may result in reduced income tax and estate tax, and possibly reduced property taxes. 

A land preservation agreement can be essential for passing land on to the next generation. By removing the land's development potential, the agreement lowers its market value, which in turn lowers estate tax. Whether the agreement is donated during life or by will, it can make a critical difference in the heirs' ability to keep the land intact.  

NOTE: Public access is NOT a requirement on lands protected with a land preservation agreement (conservation easement).

LandChoices recommends you consult with a qualified tax attorney when considering preserving land.

NOTE: Lands owned by corporations (camps, etc.) are subject to different income tax deductions in regards to conservation easements.

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