Open Space Committee
Pelham, New Hampshire

Private Landowner Options

You and your family have kept you land free from harmful development for years.  Whether a working farm, forest land, shoreline, or other open space, you would like to ensure that it remains as it is, for your children and for future generations.

The good news is that you can protect your land.  Working with a land trust (a private, nonprofit conservation organization) or government agency, there are many ways you can save land of conservation, historic, scenic, or other open space value - but only if you make plans for you land's preservation.  You can also work directly with town in discussing various options including civic donations and possible land purchases.

Why must you take action, when you simply want to keep your land as it is?  Federal estate taxes are one reason.  They can be as high as 55% of a property's fair market value, virtually forcing heirs to sell all or part of their land to pay the taxes.  And, of course, future owners may be compelled by ever-increasing property values - or simply by a lack of appreciation for the land - to sell it for development.

As the conservation techniques briefly described within these pages make clear, there are many ways you can protect your land that can make good financial sense for you and you family.


Conservation Easement
Leaves land in private ownership.  Can result in an income tax deduction and reduced property and estate taxes.

Land Donation
Can result in a substantial income tax deduction.  Can be structured in a way that allows you to continue to live on the land or receive a life income.

Bargin Sale of Land
Combines income-producing benefit of sale with tax-reducing benefit of donation.

Your Next Step

Contact a land trust. If you do not know of one in your area, the Land Trust Alliance may be able to put you in touch with one.  A land trust can help you arrive at a conservation plan that makes the most sense for you, and can put you in touch with attorneys, appraisers, accountants, and land planners familiar with conservation techniques.

Talk with you own legal and financial advisors.   The brief explanations provided here are intended only to give you an idea of what can be done.  You should make decisions affecting the ownership and use of your land property only after careful consideration and professional consultation.

Read Further.  The Land Trust Alliance sells several publications discussing easements and other conservation techniques.  They include Conservation Options; A Landowner's Guide, Preserving Family Lands, and The Conservation Easement Handbook.

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