Ralph Spaid reports that several years ago he could have become a very wealthy man. His Uncle Winfred died and left Ralph 1,657 acres. A property that had been in the family for many generations. But Ralph saw it differently and he reports it this way: the lawyer said, “Sit down there, Mr. Spaid. You are a wealthy man this morning.”
And I said, “No, I don’t know that I could go across the street and buy a meal.”
And he answered, “Well, you are wealthy today. Sit down. Listen, would you take a million dollars for your property?”
And I said, “No.”
Then he said, “Would you take two?”
And when he got to five I said, “Now just stop it right there. There’s no need to discuss it any further, it’s not for sale.”
Ralph says, “a lot of people might think I’m slightly touched, you know for not taking the money and running. But what would I do with five million dollars?”
Instead Ralph kept his property and through the gift of a conservation easement he insulated himself from paying inheritance taxes that otherwise would have been cost prohibitive.
Ralph used what is called a post-mortem conservation easement agreement. In essence, the post-mortem option enables a deceased person to make a “gift of conservation easement from the grave,” within one tax year and one extension of his/her death. A post-mortem conservation easement can often result in substantial estate tax savings, allowing the heirs to retain family-held land that they otherwise may not have been able to afford.
Contact the Trust so we can provide your accountant with the appropriate information to determine if this option is right for you.
Ralph manages his property for timber harvest and continues to use the open fields for cattle pasture. He sees as many as four black bears a visit and bobcats are not uncommon. Ralph will continue to enjoy and use his property as he and Winfred always have. Ralph also takes great joy in knowing that it will always be there much the same as Winfred left it to him. The Trust honors Ralph for his steadfast commitment to and his stewardship of his land.
These stories — humorous or infamous — bond these folks to the land and to each other, conserving friendship and a piece of paradise forever.