Photo: Brian Maley

Donate a Retained Life Estate

A landowner can donate real property — a home, vacation home, or farm — and continue to use it during their lifetime.

Can I make a gift to the Land Trust but still use my land?

A Retained Life Estate is when the landowner makes an irrevocable gift to the Land Trust, and retains the entire use and responsibilities of ownership.  The remainder interest to the Land Trust is a gift, and qualifies for a charitable deduction.  Couples can make a gift in which both owners retain full life use, and the Land Trust cannot use or sell the property until both have passed away.

With a gift of a retained life estate, the donors deed the property to the Land Trust at the time of the gift, but reserve the right to live on and use the property during their lifetimes.  At the end of the donor lives, the property is owned in its entirety by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  The size of the charitable deduction is based on the life expectancy of the donor or donors and the appraised value of the property.

The gift of a retained life estate offers several advantages:

  • The donors continue to use and enjoy the property through their lifetimes
  • The donor is entitled to an income tax deduction in the year the gift is made
  • The proceeds from the sale of the property after the donor’s death by the Land Trust will support its work, supporting the protection of more land in the region.

How can I find out more information?

Call the main office at (607) 275-9487 or email to talk about your conservation goals.

Contact us about protecting your land