Real Property Bequests
MNA accepts bequests of real property. The two major types of property are natural areas that are intended for use as a sanctuary, and real estate such as houses, commercial property, or other land intended for resale with the proceeds to benefit MNA.
Gift of Land for use as a Sanctuary
MNA accepts bequests of land for use as a nature sanctuary. In this case, MNA would like to meet with you to discuss the property, survey the property to see what type of habitat it is, assess long-term management needs, and see if management may be able to occur before the land is transferred, to halt the advance of invasive species or other time-sensitive objects.
In most cases of leaving land to MNA, you are welcome and encouraged to name the property. You can name the sanctuary in your own name, in honor or in memory of a close friend or family member, or name it after a natural feature on the property. Naming a sanctuary can leave your lasting mark on the property in perpetuity and encourage other individuals to do the same across Michigan.
During your lifetime, MNA can help give you advice on how to best manage your land for native habitats to prosper. We can also help you identify the natural features and plant and animal species on your land. Leaving land to MNA can be a rewarding experience.
In certain cases, MNA may not be able to accept the property because the property does not meet the requirements of MNA's sanctuary program. Example of this are lands that have been used as dumps, contaminated with pollutants, or are developed with many buildings. If this is the initial opinion of MNA, we can discuss options with you to protect the land, including a gift of land for investment, which is discussed below.
Endowment funds are normally collected and/or raised when MNA acquires land. If possible or within the means, the donation of monetary funds toward the Bertha Daubendiek Sanctuary Preservation Fund will help to protect a donated property into the future. This will ensure that MNA is able to adequately preserve the land and carry out required maintenance.
Gift of Land for Investment Purposes
MNA does accept gifts of land for investment purposes, if the donor does not wish the land to be preserved. Land that is developed with buildings or other improvements, is not in a general natural state or is not suitable as a nature sanctuary can be accepted as an investment property to be sold by MNA. Once MNA sells the property, the money gained on the sale will be designated by the donor. Please expressly designate such a gift in your will or trust as an investment property.
It is especially helpful for the Michigan Nature Association, in cases of real property bequests, to know if we are a beneficiary in a will or trust. If you are able to, MNA requests that a copy of the planned giving documents (or the sections relevant to MNA) be given to MNA for its confidential records, so that we know what plans to make concerning a future gift or what to do when your gift is made. However, we also understand that to some people, a will or trust is a private matter and that giving MNA a copy of its records may not be desirable. If you do share your plans with MNA, complete confidentiality is ensured.
Leaving a gift to the Michigan Nature Association in a will, trust, or life insurance policy or other planned gift has a lasting legacy. Those who have included MNA in their planned gifts are our "Guardians of the Future" because their actions are protecting the future of MNA and its nature sanctuaries across the state. We hope that you will choose to become a Guardian of the Future and help to ensure that Michigan's future has a place for the wonderful natural areas you've helped us protect.
To learn more about how you can contribute to the Michigan Nature Association, please contact Executive Director Garret Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) 223-2231.
Note: This information is intended to provide a basic understanding of the benefits associated with real property bequests. It is not to be construed as legal advice. The Michigan Nature Association encourages you to consult with your tax adviser or attorney.