Step 1: The Landowner Guide and Worksheet
Before a site visit occurs, it is critical that we gather some preliminary information about the property. Our landowner guide makes it easy to learn about conservation easements. The landowner worksheet is a simple form for you to fill out that provides us with that information!
Step 2: The Site Visit
In order to determine whether a piece of property has conservation potential, a site visit must be conducted. An initial site visit will be conducted by a Utah Open Lands staff member. Other visits to the property will be required in the future, and we hope this will not be an inconvenience for you.
Step 3: Title and Mineral Interests
A title company needs to be engaged by you for a current title commitment. Once the report is provided to us, we will review. We’ll discuss with you any title issues we discover in our review. If the mineral interests are severed from your ownership a geologist’s report at your cost will be necessary. A determination by a qualified geologist will have to be made to determine that any mineral interests that exist are so remote as to be negligible. Without this determination or ownership of the mineral estate the land may not qualify under IRS regulations.
Step 4: Conservation Easement Drafting
Utah Open Lands will take on the drafting of the conservation easement. We will need a list of possible permitted uses and prohibited uses from your perspective as the landowner.
Step 5: Review by Utah Open Lands Attorneys
Utah Open Lands informs all landowners of the need to consult their own legal counsel. UOL board attorneys will review the conservation easement on behalf of UOL and the conservation value protection necessary under 170(h) guidelines.
Step 6: Board of Directors Approval
At this time UOL’s board has given initial approval to further investigate the conservation of this land, pursuant to us resolving our outstanding issues we’ve addressed above. Once those are resolved and we begin our investigation (title review, etc). UOL may come upon reasons that we cannot accept the conservation easement. UOL's board will be updated on a monthly basis regarding the investigation of the conservation value of the property and the drafting of the conservation easement.
Step 7: Stewardship Fund Contribution
As set forth under national guidelines and the IRS Code, Utah Open Lands must have the resources and the commitment to monitor and defend the conservation easement in perpetuity. Once we visit the land we’ll have a better sense of the stewardship need of the property. If it is not possible to facilitate funding for stewardship at the time the conservation easement is recorded, UOL needs to be advised of this immediately to seek funding sources elsewhere. UOL will need those funds to be in place prior to accepting the conservation easement.
Step 8: Baseline Documentation
To ensure compliance with the terms of the conservation easement, documentation of the current condition of the land and an inventory of the conservation values has to be completed prior to the recordation of the conservation easement. UOL will need to visit the property several times to gain an accurate representation of the property at the time the gift of the conservation easement is made.
Step 9: Baseline Documentation Review by Landowner
As the landowner, you will need to review and sign the Baseline Documentation Report.