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Tools for Deal-Making

Donation Agreements

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.

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Mar 14, 2023
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Gift of a Future Interest in Real Estate

Reserved Life Estates Keep Owners in Control During Their Lifetimes

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.

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Feb 17, 2023
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Negotiation Tips

Links to resources that provide advice land trusts can use for successful negotiations with landowners.

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Last Modified
Oct 24, 2018
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Option to Sell (Put Option)

An option to sell may be used to assure that a property acquisition can be undone if expectations are not met.

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Jan 17, 2023
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Pre-Existing Mortgages in Easement Transactions

Using Non-Disturbance and Subordination Agreements to Prevent Extinguishment and Comply with Tax Law

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.

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Feb 15, 2023
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Purchase and Sale Agreements for Conservation Projects

Guidance and Sample Provisions

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.

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Jan 30, 2021
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Purchase Options

Gaining the Right Without the Obligation to Acquire Property Interests

A purchase option is a right to purchase or lease land or other property interests without any obligation to do so.

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Aug 31, 2022
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Reversionary Interest

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.

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Aug 30, 2022
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Right of First Offer and Right of First Refusal

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.

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Last Modified
Aug 18, 2022
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Trail Easements

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.

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Sep 29, 2022
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What Is a Land Trust?

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.

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Jul 01, 2021
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