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Conservation Easement Amendments

Conference Call

When: Thursday, January 31, 2013 2:00-3:00PM ET
Discussion Leaders: Sylvia Bates and Leslie Ratley-Beach

To amend or not to amend? That is the question we will tackle on this conference call. It is an important matter for land trusts to consider, and there are no easy answers.

Conservation easements are intended to protect land in perpetuity. But sometimes conditions change or mistakes were made in drafting. Crafting an amendment can be a good way to strengthen an easement, clarify provisions or improve enforceability. Amendments involve risk, and some amendments are riskier than others. It's important to understand how to weigh the costs and benefits before your land trust and landowner decide whether an easement amendment is appropriate or necessary to meet conservation goals.

Please join us to discuss evolving practices, legal principles and risk management regarding easement amendments, including:

  • What guidance does Land Trust Standards and Practices offer?
  • How does state law affect amendment decisions?
  • What is the IRS position on amendments?
  • What should you include in your land trust's amendment policy?
  • Are you amending your easements for the right reasons? And saying no to amendments for the right reasons?
  • How do you analyze and manage potential risks when amending an easement . . . or when choosing not to amend?

Sylvia Bates and Leslie Ratley-Beach will lead the discussion. Sylvia is the director of standards and research and, since 2006, leads the Alliance's work on Land Trust Standards and Practices, land trust assessments, the Standards and Practices Curriculum and other cutting-edge issues. Leslie joined the Land Trust Alliance as conservation defense director in August 2007. Prior to joining the Alliance, she worked at the Vermont Land Trust for 13 years, where she led teams of professionals delivering conservation services to landowners, partners and staff. She has drafted and helped negotiate more than 500 conservation easements.

To register email to, with the subject line "Conservation Professional Conference Call." Prior to the call, we’ll provide registrants with the call-in number.

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