Assets to Acres Frequently Asked Questions

Autumn foliage at Buxton Simons Preserve.

What types of real estate gifts are appropriate for the Assets to Acres program?

The most readily convertible real estate gifts are vacant lots, houses, cottages, condominiums or cabins with or without attached land. Commercial property is also appropriate.

Can I give land that has conservation value and be sure that the Forest Society will protect that land even if it is sold?

Yes. The Forest Society’s policy is to carefully evaluate every gift of land and to protect its important conservation attributes - even if we don’t keep it. For lands with conservation value they may be resold subject to conservation restrictions that the Forest Society will oversee. For lands already subject to a conservation easement they may be kept as a reservation or resold subject to the existing conservation easement.

Does the Forest Society ever refuse gifts of real estate?

Sometimes; the Forest Society will fully inspect a property before accepting it. We will only accept gifts of land and buildings after determining that they contain no significant issues or problems, unclear ownership, or other potential liabilities. Sometimes the Forest Society may also decline a proposed gift with very low value because the cost to convert the asset to cash would be an inappropriately high percentage of the overall value of the donation.

Can I donate a property and retain use of it during my life time? Or give it through my will?

Yes. On some real estate gifts made to the Forest Society, the donor retains a “life estate” that allows him or her to continue living on the property for the remainder of his or her lifetime. This can generate an immediate charitable deduction for the donor for federal income tax purposes. The donor will continue to pay taxes and to cover the cost of maintenance, but the property would be removed from the value of the estate for inheritance tax purposes. When the owner dies or releases the estate, the Forest Society then sells the property and can use the proceeds to support its work. Similarly, a property can be willed to the Forest Society with a provision that its later sale benefit the Forest Society’s mission.

Can I specify how and where I would like my donation to be used?

Yes. In some cases, donors have specified that of the proceeds from donated land or buildings be applied to a particular project or region. For example, the donor of a house lot in Freedom specified that the proceeds of the sale be used to help conserve more land on nearby Green Mountain.