Donating an Easement by Will
A conservation easement can be granted in your will (or even at the direction of your heirs, if they consent). With this option, you won’t receive income or property tax benefits, but the estate tax benefits can be even more significant.
If you intend to donate an easement by will, you need—during your lifetime—to draft the easement terms in collaboration with the intended holder. This advanced planning ensures that the easement meets your conservation goals and the holder’s objectives. Since monitoring easements entails significant costs, the proposed holder may encourage you to make a monetary bequest to help cover the property’s long-term stewardship.
Sound conservation planning can reduce taxes, helping to keep land in family ownership over the generations.
Because an easement gift can take time to plan, you may want to amend your will right away, stating your specific intentions for the land and instructing your executor to complete the easement in the event of your death. Your will can be amended later if family or financial circumstances change, or if you decide to grant the easement during your lifetime. In the interim, though, you will have protected the land and taken action to lower estate taxes.