It is vital that every land trust consider what will happen to its assets if the organization ceases to exist or can no longer steward or administer its easements and land trusts should have a contingency plan for all of their easements in case of such events. One strategy is to include backup or contingency provisions in the easement. While there are variations on this practice, a backup or “executory” interest grantee is usually empowered to enforce an easement if the original grantee fails to do so, or to take over an easement if the original grantee can no longer manage it.
Sample of Brandywine Conservancy's co-holding agreement for easements co-held with the county.
A conservation easement may have one or more holders responsible for upholding the easement’s conservation objectives. It may have a beneficiary, an entity with some rights to manage the easement in furtherance of the conservation objectives but no responsibility to do so. It may also provide a contingency plan to replace a holder in the event the holder cannot or will not perform its duties. Effective long-term easement management requires that when more than one entity shares easement management rights, the relationship between the entities must be carefully delineated.
This document is one of a series of fact sheets and reference materials produced by the Land Trust Alliance. This fact sheet addresses the benefits of co-holding partnerships.
Sample agreement for co-holding an easement with another entity.