A friend of mine has parents in their late 70s who own 120 acres of woods in the Catskills. Her parents recently said it was getting more and more difficult to keep the property due to the taxes. They mentioned selling off portions of it to help pay the taxes. She would like to see the property stay in the family and is wondering what resources she could access to help make that happen?
With 120 acres of woods, the land should be eligible for
New York's Forest Tax Law Program (480-a)
, which lower property taxes up to 80% in exchange for following a management plan written by a forester. That would be a good short-term solution to get the taxes down. Longer term, they might want to look into tools for how to pass the land down to your friend (and any other heirs). That's a lengthy process, but it can really help avoid family strife and tax issues down the road when the property eventually changes hands. I recommend the "
Leaving a Legacy
" area of MyWoodlot for advice on getting that process going and resources to help your friend and her family.
Hate to default to "easement" right away, but given qualifying property characteristics, it maybe eligible for a WAC (PDR) Forest CE. Sale of partial property rights would let the landowners realize cash equity now, depreciate the remaining interest and make transfer easier. A more typical donated easement can help accomplish this too if well planned in conjunction with tax abatement programs, such as 480a.