PROTECTING LAND: LAND DONATION
Donating undeveloped land to WLC is an excellent option for landowners who no longer use part or all of their land and don’t plan to pass it on to their heirs. It also benefits landowners with large properties that require significant maintenance, since some of the land can be donated and some retained. Landowners have a similar option to donate “trade lands,” undeveloped or already developed commercial or residential property, which allows WLC to sell the property and generate revenue for its conservation work.
Land also can be given as an outright donation, whereby WLC becomes the immediate owner. This frees landowners from paying property taxes and eliminates capital gains taxes that would otherwise accrue if the land were sold. Because the donation is to a non-profit organization, the market value of the land is tax deductible. WLC typically leaves donated properties in their natural state for conservation, open space and for wildlife habitat. However, WLC may also open the parcels to the public by constructing trails on them to allow trail users to see and explore WLC's Preserves first-hand.
WLC can also accept deferred land donations in any of four ways, all of which generate tax deductions:
1. A reserved life estate or remainder interest donation. You donate your land to WLC during your lifetime, but reserve the right for you and anyone else you name to continue to live on the land. WLC acquires the land only when you and other named persons die or legally release interests in the land.
2. A charitable gift annuity. You donate land to WLC and receive regular payments during your lifetime from WLC. Annuity payments can be made to your beneficiaries after you die.
3. A charitable remainder unitrust. You put a conservation easement on your land and then place it in a trust. The land is sold and the proceeds invested. Beneficiaries receive annual payments from the trust for a fixed term or for life, after which any remaining funds are turned over to WLC.
4. Bequest in a will. Upon your death, your land is donated to WLC. We then manage it according to the terms (if any) spelled out in your will. During your lifetime, you’re able to live on and use the land as you wish.