Gifts of Real Estate

Gifts of real estate can be an incredible way to share your love of the land and Lake Champlain.

When you give a gift of real estate, you can reduce your taxes, eliminate the burden of property management, and know that you are contributing to local conservation in a way that will enrich kids’ and families’ love of the land for generations.

There are a couple ways that you can donate real estate.

Donate the property in its entirety. This allows you to receive the maximum charitable income tax deduction as permitted by law, and avoid capital gains tax. You can donate property like a camp, vacation home, business, apartment building, vacant land, or your primary residence.

Continue to use the property during your lifetime, but receive an immediate tax deduction for your gift.  This is often called retaining a “remainder interest” or “life estate“. You would pay the taxes while you had use of the land.  Upon the death of the landowners, the land trust would own the property.

I wanted to do something that gives a little bit back after I’m gone…something that will inspire other kids like me.

-Ellie Russell, owner of a camp in West Milton who has donated her property

What would the land trust do with my property?

1.Establish a nature preserve/public conservation area.

The land trust is looking for properties that can connect people to the land—fields, meadows, woodlands and streams; wetlands, ponds, overlooks and quiet spots to reflect in nature.   We have established some criteria to help us identify properties that would be particularly good as nature preserves/public conservation areas.

To accept land for this purpose, the land trust needs to ensure it has the capacity to manage the land over time, and therefore must secure funds for basic improvements (signage, small parking area, trails if needed), as well as management for wildlife habitat. We can talk to you about strategies on how to do that.

2.Conserve the land and then sell it to a conservation buyer, and apply the funding to conservation projects and programs.

This can be a very important way to increase the conservation of lands in the Lake Champlain watershed—you are essentially leveraging your gift by conserving the property you donate to the land trust (if it is a conservation property), and then ensuring that the proceeds from the sale of the property increase the pace of local conservation and community programs.


Algonquin Ridge Natural Area sunspot C Boget Nov 7 2003-REDUCED3.If not a conservation property, sell it and apply the funding to conservation projects and funding.

This is a great way to boost conservation. If you have property in town (an apartment building, house or business) or a camp on the shores of Lake Champlain, donating this land to the land trust can provide you with income tax deductions.And you will be helping to expand our conservation programs and new land protection efforts. To read more about our partnership with Ellie Russell, click here


For more information, download a one-page summary of the benefits of land donation.