Preserving land for the benefit of the community is one of the most significant sacrifices that landowners can make. If you are considering preserving your property for its social, ecological, cultural or historical value, we applaud you!
Landowners of qualifying properties who wish to preserve their land may be eligible to receive tax benefits related to income tax, property tax, federal estate tax, and Maryland estate tax. As an added incentive, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 allows heirs to exclude up to 40% of the value from their taxable estate above and beyond the reduction due to the decreased assessment.
An attractive option for many property owners is to obtain a conservation easement on their land. The concept of a conservation easement is based upon a separation of land use rights, in which the landowner may sell or donate the development rights, while still maintaining the ownership rights. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that exists in perpetuity and remains with the property regardless of future property owners. A conservation easement is tailored specifically to meet the needs of the property, the desires of the landowner, and the capabilities of the land trust. A conservation easement does not transfer ownership of the land, but rather removes the development rights from the land and redefines the highest and best use of the land.
We strongly encourage landowners to consult their financial advisors if interested in preserving their property in perpetuity.
Please feel free to contact us should you have questions.