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B. Legal and Financial Advice

  • Do not give individualized legal, financial or tax advice when providing transaction-related information.
  • Recommend in writing that each party to a land or conservation agreement transaction obtain independent legal, financial and tax advice.


In many transactions, the land trust and the landowner are working so closely together toward the same goal that it can be easy to forget that each has independent interests to protect. Thus, each party should have separate legal and financial representation. By advising landowners to obtain legal, financial and tax counsel, land trusts make them responsible for their own legal, financial and tax interests. By documenting that recommendation in writing, land trusts safeguard themselves from claims by landowners that the land trust gave them legal, financial or tax advice. Land trusts should never give assurances about a particular legal outcome or donation value. Land trusts are not licensed to practice law, and they should not give, or appear to give, legal advice. However, land trusts do provide technical assistance, and they provide information to help the landowner and his or her advisors understand the ramifications of proposed transactions. Land trusts should consider including a clause in the conservation agreement that states the landowners have obtained independent legal, financial and tax advice.