How do landowners benefit from conservation easements
Conservation easements take away certain rights from the landowner. Either he gives up his right to build additional structures or to subdivide the land or any such right so that land and it’s value can be conserved. These rights are given to some other entity. Usually the entity is a land trust.
Conservation easements on the face of it look as if it is disadvantageous to the landowners. But this is not true. Landowners have found that conservation easements are a boon to them and offer them great flexibility. Inspite of it, it provides them with a permanent guarantee that their land will not be any further developed. For example, if one has a conservation easement on property which is a rare wildlife habitat then no further development will be allowed. Whereas if there is a farm, there are chances of not only continued farming but of building agricultural structures in addition to what is there already.
A landowner can sell the conservation easement however, it is most commonly donated. Incase this donation is a benefit to the public due to the protection of conservation resources and if this donation also meets federal tax code requirements, then the land owner also benefits by it qualifying as a tax deductible charitable donation.
The conservation easement is also necessary when the land needs to be passed on to the next generation. When there is an easement, the market value is reduced and this in turn reduces the estate tax. This helps in a great deal for the ability of the heirs to keep the land intact.
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