The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has published the 2nd edition of the Model Conservation Easement Donation Agreement with Commentary at ConservationTools.org. Improvements to the model, which was first published in 2012, include updates to account for the 2017 edition of Land Trust Standards and Practices, the LTA advisory on tax shelter abuse, and IRS Notice 2017-10.
The model helps land trusts avoid getting stuck with unreimbursed major expenses if a would-be easement donor walks away from a project. It outlines the steps to completing a project and the responsibilities of the land trust and donor. It also helps the parties avoid common misunderstandings. (The model serves as a complement rather than a substitute for good communications early in the process.)
PALTA made a clarifying chance to §3.02(c) of the Model Grant of Conservation Easement and Declaration of Covenants, which now reads in part:
Recreation and Education.Recreational, educational, and scientific research activities are permitted that do not require Improvements other than trails and do not materially and adversely affect maintenance or attainment of Conservation Objectives such as the following: (1) walking, horseback riding on trails, cross-country skiing, bird watching, nature study, fishing, and hunting; and (2) wildlife research consistent with and in furtherance of the Conservation Objectives….
PALTA also improved the commentary by addressing newly identified matters and the final changes to the 2017 edition of Land Trust Standards and Practices.
PALTA has updated its Guide and Model Policy for Conservation Easement Amendment. Improvements include changes to reflect the incorporation of LTA’s Amendment Principles into the 2017 edition of Land Trust Standards and Practices.
Every easement-holding land trust should have a policy regarding conservation easement amendment. The model can be used as a template for a policy or, especially if a land trust prefers a short and simple policy, as a thorough, practical guide to responsible amendment decision-making.