Conservation effort provides example of easement use in Delaware

Easements can provide a number of advantages, including potential tax savings.

Easements are a little known legal tool. One beneficial use of easements was recently highlighted in Kent County by the Kent County Conservancy. The nonprofit agency encourages individuals to set aside plots of land for preservation. The group provides landowners with the ability to continue to enjoy their property while ensuring that the land is not developed in future generations through the use of a conservation easement.

This is just one type of easement that landowners can take advantage of. Having a basic understanding of easements can help property owners determine if this legal tool is right for them.

More on easements

The term easement essentially refers to a scenario where a legal owner of land allows another, non-owner, to use the land. Two common examples include utility companies like power or gas companies using land to install pipelines and use of a shared driveway between two neighbors, one of which owns the driveway and the other simply uses it.

Easements can be created in a number of ways, including:

  • Written document. A contract or will can be used to establish an easement.
  • Prescriptive use. This form of easement results when someone other than the original owner gains possession of property. This is also known as adverse possession.
  • Estoppel. This legal concept relies on the words or actions of another. Essentially, for estoppel to lead to an easement the conduct of the owner of the land must lead another person to reasonably believe that he or she has an interest in the property. This belief then leads the person to take action as if he or she is the owner.

Unless specifically stated otherwise, courts generally interpret easement agreements to be permanent. Once an easement is established, the user of the land is generally allowed to use it in a reasonable manner while the owner is allowed to continue use as long as such use does not interfere with the easement holder's use.

Easements in Delaware

Easements in Delaware can be established for a number of reasons, including conservation and agricultural preservation efforts as well as an interest in pursuing potential tax advantages. However, it is important to note that various restrictions can be present depending on the type of easement chosen. Conservation easements, for example, often restrict development and other changes to the land.

Whether looking to establish an easement or attempting to resolve a legal issue involving an easement dispute, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Delaware easement dispute lawyer. This legal professional will guide you through the process, working to better ensure your interests are protected.