All Planned Giving Options

Retained Life Estate Gift

Canaan Valley, West Virginia
Bog with coton grass and ferns Canaan Valley, West Virginia © Kent Mason

Donate Your Home, Keep Living There

Give your personal residence (a house, cabin or farm) to The Nature Conservancy and continue to live there rent-free for the rest of your life or a term of years. In exchange, you receive an immediate income tax deduction.

How It Works

You can benefit the natural world by creating a retained life estate. Make a significant gift with the most valuable asset you hold without disturbing your living arrangements or your cash flow.

Here's the process:

  1. You irrevocably transfer your residence, farm or vacation home to TNC.
  2. You continue to live in the property rent-free for life or a specified number of years and are responsible for all taxes and upkeep.
  3. The Conservancy assumes ownership of the property when your life estate ends.


  • Receive gift credit and an immediate income tax deduction for the appraised value of the property, based on the fair market value of your house minus the present value of the life tenancy you will retain.
  • Terminate the life estate at any time and take an additional income tax deduction.
  • Enjoy the satisfaction of making a significant gift now that benefits nature later.

Can It Work for You?

A retained life estate may be for you if:

  • You are looking for a flexible plan that protects you against uncertainty. For example, you are considering a move but are not yet ready to commit to a new location, or you think you may stop using the family cabin but aren't ready to sell.
  • You want to make a significant gift to benefit nature without affecting your living arrangements or cash flow.
  • You can continue to maintain your home.
  • Your home is not subject to a mortgage or other obligations.

More Information

Your exact benefits will depend on the value of property you are contributing, its condition, your age, and other market factors. See the example below to get a better sense of the benefits of a retained life estate.

Example: You and your spouse are ages 70 and 68. You have always loved your home and have no plans to move. It has appreciated significantly since you bought it; an independent appraisal valued it at $250,000 and the mortgage has been paid off. You want to give a gift to TNC in memory of your sister, so you decide to donate your house to us, retaining a life estate for yourself and your spouse. The estimated charitable deduction is $93,763.

Note: This example is based on a factor that changes monthly. Contact our office for a personal illustration based on the latest rates.

As with all gifts of real estate, we must review and approve the transfer. You will need to secure an independent appraisal of your home to establish its value for the deduction. If there is a mortgage or lien on your home, it will complicate the transfer to us and could result in taxable income to you. Our gift-planning team can advise you on all these matters.


For more information, contact one of our gift planning experts, or explore other ways to give.