A donation agreement may be used to ensure that a donor’s promise can be relied upon, set the expectations of both donor and donee, and prevent misunderstandings.
Landowners can convey a future interest in real property to a conservation organization or government but continue to live on or otherwise enjoy using the property during their lifetimes. If the property is a personal residence or a farm, a donation of a future interest can generate immediate tax benefits.
Links to resources that provide advice land trusts can use for successful negotiations with landowners.
An option to sell may be used to assure that a property acquisition can be undone if expectations are not met.
When a mortgage predates an easement on a property, the easement could be extinguished in a foreclosure if the owners default on their mortgage payments. And if the easement is to be donated and the donors wish to obtain tax benefits, additional complications arise. These problems can be avoided by obtaining an agreement from the mortgage holder appropriate to the circumstances.
Acquisitions of land and easements for conservation purposes can involve issues different from other real estate transactions. This guide looks at purchase and sale agreements in general and then reviews potential customizations that may be made to these agreements to specifically address conservation matters.
A purchase option is a right to purchase or lease land or other property interests without any obligation to do so.
A landowner concerned about the future use of their land can donate or sell their land on a conditional rather than absolute basis. The deed used to convey the land can include terms that will trigger a change in ownership back to them—or some other person or entity assigned by them—if use of the land falls out of compliance with the conditions set in the conveyance.
A landowner may not be ready to sell their property but may be willing—if and when they are ready to sell—to provide an organization with the opportunity to purchase the property before it is sold to another. The opportunity more specifically may be for the organization to accept or make an offer on the property before it is placed on the market, to negotiate with the owner before it is exposed to the market, or to match the offer of a third-party buyer after the property has been on the market. To legally commit to providing one or more of these opportunities, the owner grants the organization a right of first offer or right of first refusal.
A property owner may convey to others the rights to create, maintain, and use a trail on their property without giving up ownership and enjoyment of the land through which the trail passes.
Simply stated, a land trust is a charitable organization that acquires land or conservation easements, or that stewards land or easements, for conservation purposes. However, this simple definition leaves much to be explained.