Deep River Land Trust - Questions & Answers
Q. What is the Deep River Land Trust?
- The Trust is a non-profit corporation, formed in 1975 by a group of Deep River citizens, for the specific purpose of acquiring Landor conservation easements on property to preserve it in its natural state. The Deep River Land Trust is one of many such local organizations in Connecticut.
- What kinds of land is the Trust interested in protecting?
- Obviously not every tract of land is suitable for preservation. The Trust is most desirous of protecting land judged to be of ecological or environmental value. This includes marshes and ponds as well as woodlands and pastures. However, gifts of commercial, or residential real estate can be given to the Trust for the purpose of sale by the DRLT to provide funds for acquiring natural areas.
- What will the Deep River Land Trust do with donated land?
- The Trust agrees to hold the land in perpetuity in its natural state. However, land that is suitable for nature walks may be opened to the public, with trails provided and markers, if there are features to point out to visitors. It shall be the prerogative of the donor to stipulate how a tract of land is to used.
Q. Why give land to a conservation trust?
- A foremost reason for many such gifts is that the landowner sees it as a means of ensuring his property of forever remaining untrammeled in its natural state, while freeing him of its upkeep and the mounting taxes upon it. Aside from this, there are usually substantial tax benefits to such gifts. The Federal Government encourages gifts of real property to public and certain nonprofit organizations by providing income tax advantages, capital gains savings and estate taxbenefits. In addition, certain State tax deductions are allowable and local property taxes may be eliminated or significantly reduced, depending on the extent of the interests in lands which are given.
Q. What are the methods for donating land?
- There are several. One of the most common, of course, is outright conveyance, legally called a transfer in fee simple. There are other ways, however, such as:
Transfers in Trust - you can convey your property "in trust" for the purpose of carrying out your wishes with respect to its preservation and use.
Reservations of Life Estates - if the property is personal residence or farm land, you may make a gift of it but retain the use of the property for the rest of your life and, if you choose, the lives of your spouse and children.
Bequests - estate and inheritance taxes can be reduced by willing property to the Land Trust.
Q. What is a Conservation Easement?
- This is a relatively new device in which you sell or donate certain rights with respect to your property while retaining ownership for yourself and your heirs forever. For example, you might make a legal agreement restricting the amount and type of development on your land and donate these specific and carefully defined rights to the Trust. The Trust;- in accepting this easement, would have the obligation to monitor the use of the land forever. When all the conditions conform with those defined by the Internal Revenue Service for a qualified conservation contribution, there can be significant tax advantages to the property owner over a period of years. There can also be savings in estate and property taxes.