In establishing an easement, landowners voluntarily give up development rights in exchange for cash, tax benefits, or both. Easements are legally recorded restrictions tied to the land rather than an individual owner. Easements usually confer tax advantages through deductions based on having a charitable contribution of part of the value and also through lowering the property value, potentially reducing both property and inheritance taxes.
"Most of the landowners we've worked with are mulitgeneration ranch and forest landowners who don't want to see their property split up...subdivided and broken up."
Michael Cipra , North Coast Regional Land Trust
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a voluntary,
incentive-based legal agreement that limits
the type and amount of development allowed
on a parcel of land, either for a set period of
time or in perpetuity.
Why is it important?
More than 1.3 million acres of agricultural
lands in California were converted to other
uses between 1994 and 1998. Grazing
lands decreased by 19,000 acres annually.
Urbanization accounts for 80% of these losses,
creating concern that we are losing important
potential to produce food and fiber in the face of our growing population. In addition, the primary threat to wildlife and biodiversity is habitat loss, making the conservation of working landscapes that much more important.
How can i benefit?
Reducing your annual and succession costs
improves your family’s ability to make a living
off the land. Selling an easement can give you a significant
one-time earnings boost. Donating an easement can give you a significant savings on income taxes for many years.
An easement can protect your land and it’s
natural resources and agricultural potential
How important is estate planning to small parcel owners?
A benefit to including your forestland in estate planning is to address CA Probate issues. Estate planning can minimize the expenses and long time lines associated with Calif. probate. Current law states that heirs are not going to pay an estate tax unless all assets total $22 million for a couple filing jointly. This expires in 2025.
Financial Aspects to Owning Forestland