Since 1959, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation has been a leader in land conservation on Martha’s Vineyard. Sheriff’s Meadow conserves, administers, and maintains natural habitats for wildlife on the island. Working closely with landowners, towns and other conservation organizations, we have protected roughly 2,600 acres of land through direct gifts of land, through purchases of land, and through gifts and purchases of conservation restrictions. The most satisfying benefit for the landowner of a conservation gift is the assurance that the land will be conserved for future generations. Land lasts, and a gift of conservation land leaves a lasting legacy. Gifts of land, bargain sales and gifts of conservation restrictions may also create substantial tax benefits for the landowner.
FOUR WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR LAND
Outright Donation of the Fee Interest
Donating land by deed is a fairly simple procedure which transfers not only the title of the land to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation but also the management responsibility for the property. Incometax deductions and estate benefits may be available and avoidance of capital gains taxes that would result from the sale of the property is often a significant benefit for many landowners. Of course, from time to time in its history Sheriff’s Meadow has also purchased land outright from the landowner, and we will continue to do so in the future. Given that ours is a non-profit organization and given the prices of island real estate, though, gifts are likely to remain the most common means by which Sheriff’s Meadow conserves land.
A conservation restriction is a legal agreement that permanently protects the natural features of a parcel of land by limiting the property’s uses. With a conservation restriction, the landowner conveys certain rights to a property to a conservation organization, such as Sheriff’s Meadow. Conservation restrictions are permanent documents and run with the land. Conservation restrictions can be given or sold, and Sheriff’s Meadow both accepts gifts of conservation restrictions and also purchases them. For more information on conservation restrictions, please see the section of this website labeled “conservation restrictions.”
A landowner may wish to donate property to ensure that it will be preserved in perpetuity, but may also want to continue to live on or use the property during his lifetime. By reserving for himself the right to continue to use the property the landowner has kept a “life estate.” The interest given to a charitable organization is called a “remainder interest.”
The landowner can continue to enjoy the property during his life and know that it will be protected in perpetuity. Such a gift may entitle the landowner to an incometax deduction (contributions are decreased by the value of the retained life estate as determined by the actuarial tables published by the Internal Revenue Service).
One of the simplest ways to make a gift to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation is through your Will. You can name Sheriff’s Meadow as the direct beneficiary of specific assets, of a portion of your estate, or of your residual estate after payment of other taxes. Bequests to Sheriff’s Meadow are not subject to federal estate tax.
For more information:
To discuss a specific property or to receive more information, contact Adam Moore, Executive Director, at 508-693-5207 by telephone or via email at email@example.com. Thank you for considering conserving your land with Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.