The donation of a conservation easement is a major commitment for any landowner. Although tax benefits may result from such a gift, the primary reward for granting an easement is protecting a cherished property forever.
In accepting an easement, we are also making a major commitment in assuming the legal responsibility to carry out the donor’s intentions by upholding the terms of the easement forever. The generous gift of an easement to HHLT helps us further our mission, but each easement also represents a perpetual obligation for us to monitor properties for compliance with the easement terms. Although it is very unusual for grantors of easements to violate terms outlined in those easements, the possibility that violations will occur increases as time passes and properties change hands.
In order for us to properly care for the easements we hold, we must regularly monitor those easements and be prepared to enforce their terms. At a minimum, this involves a modest amount of staff time and travel. In the worst cases, we may need to defend the terms of an easement, perhaps through court action, which could be expensive.