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Donate land

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I donate my land?

Do you own land? Would you like your land to remain undeveloped or otherwise be used to conserve and protect lands for the benefit of future generations?

Yes, you may be able to donate the land or a conservation easement on the land directly to the Land Conservancy.

A gift of land to a nonprofit such as the Land Conservancy is an easy way to make a gift of real estate while taking advantage of potential tax benefits. A land donation may be a means of obtaining permanent protection and may also support the Land Conservancy financially.

If I donate my land, will it be used as a nature preserve?

Depending on your type of real estate and your intention as the donor, such a gift may be retained by the Land Conservancy as a preserve, resold with a conservation easement on it protecting it permanently, or resold to provide maximum funds for other land protection projects.

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Can I donate my land to protect it when I pass away?

Yes. A landowner can conserve important lands by donating property or donating a conservation easement through their will.

A bequest is a provision in your will or codicil (a will amendment) that instructs the estate’s executor to convey land or a conservation easement to the Land Conservancy.

Both the bequest and a living trust—a legal arrangement to help you determine how your assets are managed and distributed, during your lifetime and after you die—may be utilized to assure the permanent protection of the land, permit you to control the property during your lifetime, and may permit you certain tax advantages (subject to further consultation with a CPA or other legal or financial adviser).

If you wish to donate property or a conservation easement through your will, please contact the Land Conservancy so we can work with you or your attorney/ financial planner to create a conservation plan. After discussing your plans with us, you would simply name the Land Conservancy in your will as: The Western New York Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, incorporated in New York State, and with the business address of PO Box 471 East Aurora, NY 14052.

If you name the Land Conservancy in your will, you will become a member of the Legacy Society.

Can I donate my land to protect it now but continue to use it during my lifetime?

Yes. You may donate real property—a home, vacation home, or farm, etc.—and continue to use it during your lifetime.

 

With a gift of a retained life estate, you deed the property to the Land Conservancy at the time of the gift, but reserve the right to live on or use the property during your lifetimes. The remainder interest to the Land Conservancy is a gift, and it may qualify for a charitable deduction or other tax advantages. Couples can make a gift in which both owners retain full life use, and the Land Conservancy cannot use or sell the property until both have passed away.

 

At the end of your life, the property is owned in its entirety by the Western New York Land Conservancy. To determine the nature of or eligibility for any charitable deduction, we recommend you speak to your legal counsel or CPA.

The gift of a retained life estate may offer several advantages to you:

  • continued use and enjoyment of property during your lifetime

  • potential income tax deduction

  • The proceeds from any potential sale of the property after your death by the Land Conservancy would support the protection of more of Western New York’s forests, meadows, streams, and farms.

Can I give other types of real estate?

You can support conservation while deriving potential significant benefits when you donate real estate.

Can I donate other types of real estate, such as a house, to the Land Trust?

 

Yes. The Land Conservancy also accepts gifts of other types of real estate—homes, building lots, commercial property, or other land unsuitable for permanent protection—that we can then sell and raise funds for conservation while providing potentially significant benefits to you the donor.

 

What are the benefits of donating real estate to the Land Conservancy?

  • Potential estate tax benefits

  • You may be eligible to receive charitable deductions on your income taxes

  • You may be able to save on property taxes

  • Peace of mind: donating land is an easy way for you to contribute to an organization that’s dedicated to maintaining Western New York’s natural beauty

Will my donated land be part of the Western New York Wildway?

To be part of the WNY Wildway, your land must be located within the WNY Wildway boundary. You can view the Wildway map here. Even if it is not located within the Wildway, your protected land may still be utilized to play a significant role in the health of our region—and the Western New York Land Conservancy. 

How can I find out more information about donating land or real estate?

Call the main office at (716) 687-1225 or email info@wnylc.org to discuss your conservation goals.

 

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Readers of this website should contact their attorney or CPA to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal or financial planning matter.  The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial planning advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. 

Only your individual attorney or CPA can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. 

All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. 

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