Conserving Your Land

Donating land for conservation purposes is truly one of the finest legacies a person can leave to future generations. Throughout South Kingstown there are parks, coastal areas, farmlands, forestlands, and scenic open spaces that the public enjoys because of the long-term vision of conservation-minded landowners.

Contact SKLT’s Land Protection Director, Joanne Riccitelli, if you’d like to talk about the various ways to donate conservation land as well as the process of making a donation of land or an interest in land. You can stop by or call the Robinson Street office at 401-789-0962 or email joanne.riccitelli@sklt.org. South Kingstown Land Trust can provide information about financial incentives for land donation, forms of land donation, and the land donation process. Some general information is included below:

Financial Incentives for Land Donation

A number of tax programs have been enacted to provide financial incentives for the donation of land and easements to land trusts. Depending on the terms and circumstances of the individual gift, these can include:

  • deductions to federal and state income taxes in the year of the gift or in later years
  • reduction in the size of a taxable probate estate
  • relief from town real estate taxes

The value of a gift for these purposes is based on a professional appraisal of the interest being donated. South Kingstown Land Trust is a qualified recipient of conservation easements and land donations, but it is not a tax advisor. SKLT staff can assist you in deciding which option for preserving your land might make sense for you, and then we encourage you to consult your professional tax advisor.

Types of Land Donation

There are many types of conservation land donations:

  • Direct donation. A charitable donation of land is given over immediately to the Land Trust, which takes title to the property, assumes full ownership, and initiates future care of the property.
  • Conservation easement. An interest in land such as an easement or permanent restriction against development allows the donor to continue ownership of the land itself (thus preserving the original acreage of the property) while providing the Land Trust with the right and responsibility to enforce the conservation easement restrictions. This option works particularly well for farmers who wish to protect their land and continue farming.
  • Future ownership. Another method of donation is to make a gift of future ownership, in which the donor would retain use and possession of the land during his or her lifetime and the Land Trust takes ownership upon the donor’s death.
  • By will. Donors may make gifts of land or conservation easement through their wills.
  • Neighborhood purchase and donation: In some cases, groups of neighbors have joined together to conserve a special area near their homes.

The Land Donation Process

South Kingstown Land Trust makes an individual determination for each parcel of land to ensure that all lands it protects fit strategically with its organizational mission and vision. This process includes a visit to the property, due diligence regarding the title of the property, and surveying of the property.

The Land Trust asks all land donors to provide a donation toward due diligence costs, legal fees, recording fees, and stewardship costs. In accepting donations of land, SKLT makes a commitment to steward the land in perpetuity, and we must ensure our future capability to shoulder that responsibility.