River Revitalization Foundation is a Land Trust
A land trust protects land and water resources for the public benefit. As Wisconsin’s only urban rivers land trust, River Revitalization helps preserve green space along Milwaukee’s rivers by purchasing land, acquiring easements, seeking land donations and managing public lands. These efforts enable us to build trails, protect the plants, trees and wildlife along the rivers, and improve water quality.
Donating land for conservation purposes is truly one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. It may be the best conservation strategy for you if you do not wish to pass the land on to heirs; own property you no longer use; own highly appreciated property; have substantial real estate holdings and wish to reduce estate tax burdens; or would like to be relieved of the responsibility of managing and caring for land while receiving income tax reductions and estate tax benefits. Most important, if the land is donated because of its conservation value, it will be protected.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows you to continue to own and use your land, to sell it or pass it on to heirs, and potentially reduce your property taxes.
Donate Land By Will
If you want to own and control your land during your lifetime, but assure its protection after your death, you can donate it by will.
A Remainder Interest in Land
An outright donation is not the only way to give land. You can continue to live on the land by donating a remainder interest and retaining a reserved life estate. In this arrangement, you donate the property during your lifetime, but continue to live on and use the property. Upon your passing (or sooner if you choose), the land trust gains full title and control over the property.
Land Donations that Establish A Life Income
If you have land you would like to protect by donating it to a land trust, but need to receive income during your lifetime, you might use a charitable gift annuity. In a charitable gift annuity, you agree to transfer certain property to a charity, and the charity agrees to make regular annuity payments to one or two beneficiaries you specify for life.
Charitable gift annuities are most useful for highly appreciated land, the sale of which would incur high capital gains tax.
If you need to realize some immediate income from selling your land, yet would like the property to go to a land trust, a bargain sale might be the answer. In a bargain sale, you sell the land to a land trust for less than its fair market value. This not only makes it more affordable for the land trust, but offers several benefits to you: it provides cash, avoids some capital gains tax, and entitles you to a charitable income tax deduction based on the difference between the land’s fair market value and its sale price.