Commencing with the Model Conservation Easement Project in 2014, the Connecticut Land Conservation Council is working to develop and maintain a library of model legal documents and accompanying commentaries to assist people and organizations in completing land conservation projects. Note that changes in tax laws and Internal Revenue Service interpretations and rulings are frequent. Please review the model language carefully and always consult with your attorney when drafting a conservation easement and for other guidance.
Advisory November 2018 re: 2014 Model Grant of Agricultural Conservation Restriction and accompanying Commentary.
The 2014 Model Grant of Agricultural Conservation Restriction and accompanying Commentary have not been revised since initial drafting. While based on best practices at the time of drafting, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) has since taken the position that including an amendment provision may violate IRS regulations. Also since initial drafting some case law has found that (1) certain “deemed approval” clauses (automatic approval when the land trust does not promptly respond to an approval request) may cause the easement to not meet the perpetuity requirement of IRS Code §170(h), and (2) improvements language in the Extinguishment clause violates the IRS Code requirements, thereby possibly undermining a landowner's claim for a charitable deduction. Variations of these provisions are contained in the 2014 Model Grant of Agricultural Conservation Restriction Sections 13, 9.1 and 14.3.
Please review ongoing changes to best drafting practices carefully and always consult with your attorney when drafting a conservation easement and for other guidance.
Advisory October 25, 2018 re: 2014 Model Open Space Conservation Easement and accompany Commentary.
Land Trust Alliance Issues Alert Regarding IRS Ruling Impacting Conservation Easement Deductions - Act now: Protect your Donors from Disallowed Deductions
2014 Model Open Space Conservation Easement, revised as of December 28, 2016
The First Edition Model Conservation Easement, Introduction and accompanying Commentary, drafted in 2014, were the product of thorough research and scrutiny by legal professionals and other conservation practitioners. The commentary provides optional and alternative provisions as well as the reasoning behind each of the model's provisions and guidance in applying the model to particular circumstances.
Advisory December 28, 2016: The CLCC Model Conservation Easement and accompanying Commentary were revised as of December 28, 2016, and are posted below. The main revision seeks to address the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) ongoing position that including an amendment provision may cause the easement to not meet the perpetuity requirement of IRS Code §170(h), thereby possibly undermining a landowner's claim for a charitable deduction. See Model Conservation Easement Section 17, page 16 and Commentary Section 17, pages 20-22.
To reiterate, please review ongoing changes carefully and always consult with your attorney when drafting a conservation easement and for other guidance. For more information contact CLCC Executive Director Amy Blaymore Paterson at email@example.com.
Click HERE for more background information regarding the IRS position on amendments.
Click HERE for the Land Trust Alliance's 2017 Update to the Amending Conservation Easements Report.
CLCC and the Model Conservation Easement Working Group welcome suggestions for improving the substance and format of the Model and Commentary. Please share potential optional and alternative provisions and identify issues in need of further investigation. Comments may be directed to CLCC Executive Director and Project Coordinator, Amy B. Paterson at 860-614-8537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLCC's 2014 Model Conservation Easement Project was made possible through the generous support of The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation.
Model Conservation Easement Training Series workshop documents may be found HERE.
2016 Conservation Modification Package -- a project of the Connecticut Attorney General's office with input from Attorneys Linda P. Francois, Keith Ainsworth, and CLCC Executive Director Amy Blaymore Paterson. The 2016 Conservation Modification Package (broken up into three parts) is posted below. You will find a brief summary of procedure, sample pleadings from the Middlebury Land Trust cy pres action (not yet filed with the land records), sample pleadings from the CT DCF/City of Middletown cy pres action and relevant law. The AG's office plans on publishing guidelines. Please check back for updates. For any questions, please contact Assistant Attorney General Caitlin Calder at 860-808-5020.
For a look at how other states deal with amendments, see the New Hampshire Guidelines, attached below.
Advisory December 12, 2018: The Land Trust Alliance has issued Amendment Drafting Pointers, HERE.
Standards & Practices Template Policies/Sample Language
Templates may be found HERE.
2014 Model Agricultural Easement -- a project of the American Farmland Trust in partnership with the Connecticut Farmland Trust and the Connecticut Land Conservation Council.
Model Agricultural Easement documents may be found HERE.