Land conservation projects are, at their core, sophisticated real estate transactions. This workshop is specifically intended for non-attorneys and will acquaint participants with basic real estate concepts, legal elements of real estate transactions and outline the acquisition process from property identification through title searches and related due diligence to closing. Emphasis will be placed on basic legal terminology, possible pitfalls and practical advice. The topics will include: types of ownership and how interests in property can be held by different people; title searches, title insurance, and problems; liens and encumbrances; surveys and legal descriptions; due diligence and liability; letters of intent, purchase contracts, options, and rights of first refusal; basic information on deeds, conservation easements and other documents; and closing and recording.
Bequests can be an important contributor to a land trust’s fiscal health. This is a non-lawyer’s practical guide to handling bequests, particularly problematic ones, to ensure that land trusts of all sizes do not leave bequest dollars on the table. We’ll include what to ask for and when, what to do if you’re ignored, how to spot problems on accountings and tax returns, including avoiding income taxes, effectively collecting IRAs/life insurance/POD accounts, how to (politely) decline a request to return your bequest, when to join in/sit out litigation, with or without an attorney. We’ll include suggested letters and tax and probate forms.