Whose Bill Is It Anyway?

It is a common misconception that the losing side of a lawsuit pays the legal costs for both sides. In fact, the general rule in the U.S. is that each party pays its own fees. But carefully worded conservation easements can prevent land trusts from incurring excessive legal costs when defending lasting conservation.

When drafting an easement, one can include a clause saying that in case of a lawsuit, the landowner pays for all legal fees, including all experts, attorneys and costs. Since the land trust is responsible forever for upholding the public interest in the land and is a charity, this is an equitable arrangement. Be sure to talk to your attorney and read this practical pointer for more details.


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