The main purpose of creating a conservation easement is to preserve the special qualities of your property that make it unique to you and your family and a value for community benefit. Future generations will benefit from the preservation of our most valued natural communities and cultural heritage. Permanently protecting or forests, wildlife, waters, farms and species of concern is vital to the long term health and well being our human and natural communities.
Conservation easements are granted in perpetuity and apply to the land regardless who may own it in the future. Landowners who have donated easements to the GLLT have found that they offer many advantages and benefits:
It is a practical way to provide permanent protection to your land from uses that could damage or destroy its scenic, recreational, ecological or natural resource value.
You still own your property and may continue to live on it. Or you may sell it or pass it on to your heirs knowing that it will always be protected.
Your donation of an easement in the Kezar Lake, Kezar River or Cold River Watershed helps to maintain and enhance the quality of our ground and surface waters.
You and the GLLT decide together what needs to be protected and what you would like to achieve through protection by conservation easement. You may protect all or only part of your property.
Your donation may qualify for financial benefits:
- It may constitute a charitable gift for federal income tax purposes.
- It may enable heirs to keep the land that they otherwise would have to sell because of high estate taxes. Because the easement reduces the value of the property and therefore the value of the estate, inheritance taxes are also reduced.
- It may allow you as owner to gift more land in any one year without incurring a federal gift tax, or it may reduce the amount of tax imposed.
- Assessors in Maine may take conservation easements into account when determining the just value of a property. Thus, it may reduce the amount of property taxes.
- The State of Maine has several programs that reduce property taxes for undeveloped lands based on their current use classification — forest land, agricultural use and significant open space. Your land may qualify for one of these programs.