Your family’s land is woven into the fabric of our heritage and community. Working ranches, open lands, and farms provide food for our community, put money into our local economy, and protect cherished viewsheds and wildlife habitat. Conserving your property is a first step toward ensuring this tradition and resources continue into the future.
Six Steps to Conserving Your Land
Conserving your land allows you and your family to protect the places you love, providing assurance that it will be protected forever. To help make the decision and experience as straightforward as possible for you and your family, we have provided an outline below of the steps involved to completing a conservation easement with Aspen Valley Land Trust.
1. Discuss your options with Aspen Valley Land Trust and your family
We respect that this is a personal and important decision for you and your family. Once we understand the vision and needs you have for your property, we can explore the options available to you. The commitment to save land requires partnership, thoughtfulness, and planning. The land and your commitment to it is the first step.
Once you feel a conservation easement is right for you and your family we will help you with each of the following steps. But before we begin, we encourage you to seek independent advice concerning legal and accounting matters associated with conserving your land. AVLT can recommend professionals familiar with conservation easement for the items listed below.
· Title Report – AVLT will review a current title commitment for your property that contains a legal description of the property, ownership, mineral estate ownership, mortgages, liens, and other encumbrances.
· Conservation Easement Appraisal – If you intend to take advantage of either the federal or state benefits, a qualified appraisal will be required to document the value of your gift. There are only a handful of qualified professionals that are able to provide these specific appraisals in Colorado. We can help direct you to qualified appraisers.
· Baseline Documentation Report – This report will document the conditions of the property at the time the conservation easement is conveyed.
· Survey – If there is a question regarding the legal boundaries of your property, a survey may be necessary.
· Minerals Assessment – If you do not own 100% of the mineral rights on or under your property, a mineral remoteness letter will be needed from a geologist to determine the probability of extraction of minerals.
· Subordination Agreement – A mortgage or lien on the property must be subordinated to the conservation easement. This ensures that in the case of foreclosure the conservation agreement will not be affected.
· Environmental Assessment – This is a standard process to confirm the property has not been contaminated with hazardous materials.
· Title Insurance Policy – This is to protect the project from any loss sustained because of defects in the title other than those specifically excluded in the policy.
· Attorney review – Ensure all parameters meet with your family’s specific criteria.
3. With AVLT, write your conservation agreement
Each project is different, including yours. Together, we will draft an agreement that addresses your intentions and visions for your family’s property. We work in a collaborative manner that respects and conserves the special qualities of your land to achieve a unified goal. We encourage your thoughtfulness and honesty in this process to ensure that the result is an agreement that serves your family’s conservation interest now and in the future.
4. Closing and recording
This is the exciting day! We will meet to complete any final signatures and submit the deed of conservation easement to the county for recording. At this point, the agreement becomes a part of the land’s title forever.
5. If applicable, apply for Colorado state tax credits and federal tax deduction
6. Stewardship and Monitoring
Through this process you become a trusted and important conservation partner. Your role as a caretaker and steward of the land continues, and we are here to work with you. AVLT is a “forever” organization whose value is rooted in the land and the strengths of our community. Through our Stewardship Fund we perpetually support the monitoring and defense of your conservation easement. We’ll generally make it out onto your property only once per year but please know that we are available as a resource any time to help answer questions or address concerns pertaining to your land or conservation easement.