Nancy A. McLaughlin

Professor McLaughlin received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990 and a B.S. honors degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts , Amherst , in 1987, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Her scholarship focuses on conservation easements and nonprofit conservation organization governance issues, and she writes and lectures extensively on these issues. In 2006-2007 she was awarded research fellowships by the University of Utah and the Tanner Humanities Center  in recognition of the quality of her scholarship and the uniqueness and importance of her work, and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws recently amended the comments to the Uniform Conservation Easement Act citing to her scholarship. In the fall of 2007 she was elected to membership in the American Law Institute and as a fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Among other professional activities, she served as a member of the Land Trust Alliance's Conservation Easement Amendment Policy Group, which assisted the Alliance in drafting its recently published report, Amending Conservation Easements: Evolving Practices and Legal Principles, she serves as part of a network consulted by the Land Trust Alliance with regard to its Conservation Defense Initiative, she serves on the advisory board of Utah Open Lands and Vital Ground, she serves as a member of the Habitat Protection Advisory Committee of the Wildlife Land Trust, and, since 2000, she has served as a professional editor of the American Bar Association's Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Journal.

Professor McLaughlin teaches federal income tax, trusts and estates, estate planning, gift and estate tax, and private land conservation.


Contact Nancy A. McLaughlin


Professor of Law
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
332 South 1400 East, Room 101
Salt Lake City, Utah  84112
Phone: (801) 581-5944


 

Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Utah


To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator

9 Introductory articles were found for Nancy A. McLaughlin

A Constructive Reformist's Perspective on Voluntary Conservation Easements

pdf Amending Perpetual Conservation Easements: A Case Study Of The Myrtle Grove Controversy

By:
Over the past quarter century there has been an explosive growth in the use of conservation easements as a land protection tool. A conservation easement is a deed transferred by the owner of the land encumbered by the easement to the holder of the easement (generally a government agency or a charitable conservation organization referred to as a “land trust”) that restricts the development and use of the land to achieve certain conservation goals, such as the preservation of open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural land, or an historic site. The vast majority of conservation easements are granted “in perpetuity” because government agencies and land trusts generally acquire only perpetual easements, and landowners donating easements are eligible for the various federal and state tax incentives only if the easements are perpetual.


pdf Conservation Easements - A Troubled Adolescence

By:

The conservation easement is arguably the single most popular private land protection tool in this country today, and its use has increased dramatically (indeed, almost exponentially) over the past two and a half decades. With this increased popularity, however, have come increased reports of abuse and serious questions regarding the efficacy of conservation easements as a land protection tool. To set the stage for John D. Echeverria and Edward Thompson, Jr. to debate the relative merits of voluntary conservation easement acquisitions and “command and control” regulatory efforts, Part II of this article briefly describes conservation easements and how they operate to protect the conservation values of land; Part III describes the dramatic growth in the use of conservation easements over the past two and a half decades; and Part IV highlights some of the more troubling issues that have arisen as a result of the growth in the use of easements, as well as proposals for reform. Part V concludes on an optimistic note, asserting that if reforms can be successfully implemented, conservation easements can emerge from their troubled adolescence to take their appropriate adult role in the panoply of land conservation techniques, and may help lead us to a new paradigm of private property ownership.



pdf Conservation Easements: Perpetuity and Beyond

By:

Perpetual conservation easements are intended to protect the particular land they encumber for the conservation purposes specified in the deed of conveyance “in perpetuity”—or at least until circumstances have changed so profoundly that continued protection of the land for those purposes is no longer feasible. To protect the public interest and investment in perpetual conservation easements, and, at the same time, permit adjustments to be made to respond to changing conditions, such easements should be treated like any other form of charitable asset acquired by a government or charitable entity for a particular charitable purpose—i.e., as subject to equitable charitable trust principles. This issue to date. This Article cautions that perpetual land protection is not appropriate in all circumstances and recommends a more considered use of perpetual conservation easements as a land protection tool. This Article also explores the possible use of a number of nonperpetual conservation easements to accomplish land protection goals. Article outlines the considerable support for applying charitable trust principles to perpetual conservation easements, including uniform laws, the Restatement of Property, federal tax law, and case activity on this issue to date. This Article cautions that perpetual land protection is not appropriate in all circumstances and recommends a more considered use of perpetual conservation easements as a land protection tool. This Article also explores the possible use of a number of nonperpetual conservation easements to accomplish land protection goals.



pdf Conservation Easements: Why and How?

By:

According to the census data collected by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), over the past two decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of local, state, and regional land trusts operating
in the United States,1 and in the number of acres encumbered by conservation easements2 held by such land trusts.3 In 1980, only 431 local, state, and regional land trusts were operating in the United States, and they held conservation easements encumbering only 128,001 acres.4 As of 2003, the number of local, state, and regional land trusts operating in the United States had jumped to 1,526, and those land trusts held conservation easements encumbering more than 5 million acres.

The dramatic growth in the number of land trusts and the use of conservation easements can be attributed to a variety of factors,including increasing development pressures;6 a growing isillusionment with the government’s ability to adequately protect land from development through regulatory measures;7 the enactment in 49 states and the District of Columbia of legislation that removes common law impediments to the long-term validity of conservation easements (the “easement enabling statutes”);8 and a variety of generous federal and state tax incentives offered to landowners who donate conservation easements.9 In addition, conservation easement sale and donation transactions are popular with landowners because they are voluntary and the terms of an easement can be tailored to the specific characteristics of the encumbered land and the specific conservation purposes of the easement.



Could Coalbed Methane Be the Death of Conservation Easements?

pdf In Defense of Conservation Easements: A Response to the End of Perpetuity

pdf Increasing the Tax Incentives for Conservation Easement Donations - A Responsible Approach

By:

The use of tax incentives to encourage private landowners to donate conservation easements has become increasingly popular as policy makers search for ways to combat the growing problem of urban sprawl. The tax incentives have worked remarkably well to encourage private landowners who have both the will and the means to shoulder a significant percentage of the economic cost of protecting their land through the donation of conservation easements. However, the success of the tax incentive program should not blind its proponents to its inevitable inefficiencies and limitations. Continually increasing the tax incentives in an effort to make them attractive to a broader class of landowners – including, in particular, so-called “land rich, cash, poor” landowners – could have unintended consequences. Thus far, the land trust community has been able to recognize and respond to the challenges presented by the acquisition and long-term stewardship of conservation easements. However, the capacity of land trusts (and the often less well-equipped government agencies) to respond to such challenges is not unlimited. Some easement holders could be overwhelmed if Congress and the states adopt policies that result in a sudden surge in easement donations. Moreover, exploitation and abuse of the tax incentives by profit motivated “donors” could imperil the very existence of the tax incentive program and call into question both the credibility of the land trust community and the use of conservation easements as a private land protection tool. This article undertakes a much-needed critical analysis of the tax incentives designed to encourage conservation easement donations and proposals to increase those incentives. The article ultimately concludes that a responsible approach to increasing the tax incentives is called for: Congress should increase the incentives only if some assurance can be had that the increase will be efficient, that land trusts and government agencies have the expertise and resources to appropriately screen and steward the anticipated additional easements, and that the increase will not encourage exploitation and abuse.



pdf Protecting The Public Interest And Investment In Conservation : A Response To Professor Korngold’s Critique Of Conservation Easements