Wyndham Land Trust, Inc

Giving Land

The Wyndham Land Trust strives to conserve valuable open space in Windham County. The land trust is interested in receiving any land donation, although our emphasis is on conserving land that contains habitat for threatened plant and animal species; for example, grassland meadows, wetlands, swamps, and riperean habitat. A variety of tools are available that allow you to donate land to the land trust and receive financial benefits. Flexibility is the key. If you are interested in making a land donation, we suggest that you contact the land trust to explore your options. We recommend that you retain an attorney who will represent your interests during discussions with the land trust.

Options for donating land include:

Fee Simple
If you own all of the present and future rights to a property, that property is owned in fee simple. No one else has rights to the property. If you bequeath or donate fee simple title to the land trust, tax liability is determined from the full fair market value.
Fee Simple with Qualifications
You can transfer less than the fee simple title to your land by placing a conservation easements (or restriction) on the property when you donate it to the land trust. A conservation easement protects the land as you wish and produces significant federal income tax and possibly federal estate tax benefits.
Bargain Sale
In many cases, the land trust cannot afford to buy land for conservation. A bargain sale, in which you sell your land at less than its fair market value, may make your land affordable and provide the protection you are seeking. A bargain sale combines the income-producing benefit of a sale with the tax-reducing benefit of a donation. It can also avoid the expenses of a sale on the open market. The difference between the landís appraised fair market value and its sale price is considered a charitable donation to the land trust and can be claimed by the landowner as an income tax deduction.
Life Estate
A life estate allows you to retain an interest in your property that lasts for your lifetime. For example, a life estate can be used if you want to retain the right to live on and use your property for the rest of your life. Certain duties remain with the holder of the life estate, such as maintaining the property, paying taxes and paying mortgage interest. The Wyndham Land Trust becomes the owner of your property upon your death (or that of any specified beneficiaries), and your estate receives a charitable deduction equal to the value of the property.
Conservation Easements
A conservation easement is a legal document between you and the Wyndham Land Trust that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. An easement remains an encumbrance on the property title and allows you to conserve your land without relinquishing your right to pass it on to your heirs. In addition, you may receive significant estate, income and/or property tax benefits. The land trust and the donor must agree on the wording of a conservation easement in advance.

For more information, you can contact us at info@wyndhamlandtrust.org.