When You No Longer Wish to Own the Land
Any number of scenarios can make land ownership unappealing: you own highly appreciated property, the sale of which would result in large capital gains taxes; you own property you no longer use; you own land containing significant conservation values, but don’t have heirs who will protect it; you wish to reduce tax burdens; or you would like to be relieved of the responsibilities of managing and caring for land you cherish.

The Southeast Alaska Land Trust offers several conservation options—from accepting outright land donations (potential tax benefits), to buying property at fair market value (cash). Several types of donations provide a life income and can also be coupled with a conservation easement.

  • Donating Land: Donating land has conservation effects and financial incentives. It is often used in estate planning.
    • Outright Donation – This is a relatively simple transaction transferring land ownership to the Trust. You receive tax benefits.
    • Donation with Reserved Life Estate – Agreement allowing a landowner to donate property during their lifetime, while reserving the right to continue to live on and use the property during their lifetime. You receive tax benefits.
    • Donation by Will (Bequest) – A landowner continues to own and use their land during their lifetime and transfers ownership rights after death.
      Ask your financial consultant other methods, such as Donations that Establish a Life Income, Charitable Gift Annuity, Charitable Remainder Unitrust or a Charitable Lead Trust.
  • Selling Land: The land trust might be willing, though often not able to buy conservation land. There are several methods that increase the trusts land acquisition potential.
    • Fair Market Value Sale – Reserved for highly specialized parcels under an imminent threat.
    • Bargain Sale – Sale of land to a Land Trust at below fair market value. The difference between market and sale price is a tax-deducible, charitable donation.
    • Installment Sale – Agreement in which the seller accepts a series of payment over time rather than a lump sum.
    • Option to Purchase – Contractual agreement between a landowner and land trust on a sale price, and a specified amount of time to raise funds.
    • Right of 1st Refusal – Gives the land trust an opportunity to match any bona fide offer on a piece of land
  • Selling or Donating Land with Conditions Attached: Several methods allow land to be sold or donated with restrictions attached. Unlike a conservation easement, these conditions may be terminated at any time by a mutual agreement of the parties.
    • Deed Restrictions – Restrictions on certain actions recorded with the deed when property is sold or donated.
    • Conditional Transfer – Deed restrictions placed on land when sold or donated with the underlying condition that if the restrictions are violated, then title returns back to the original owner or other person named in the deed.

    Please note:
    This information is intended as a general guide to planned giving and voluntary protection of private lands in Southeast Alaska. It is not meant as a substitute for legal or tax advice and should not be relied on as a sole source of information. Individuals wishing to make a donation should consult advisors such as their attorneys, tax accountant, or other professionals. Local and state government officials may also be able to provide useful advice.

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