What to Do After Inheriting Land in Louisiana

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What to Do After Inheriting Land in Louisiana
By

Bart Waldon

Louisiana is known as the Sportsman's Paradise with rich culture, vibrant cities, bayous, swamps and access to both the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. Its diverse landscapes range from swamps and wetlands to pine forests, fertile farmland and beautiful beaches. If you’ve inherited land in Louisiana, you have a unique opportunity but likely some questions on next steps.

Assessing Your Inherited Land in Louisiana

Upon inheriting property, the first step is understanding exactly what you have received. Start by pulling property records to identify:

  • Location of the land parcel(s)
  • Total acreage
  • Property access points and frontage
  • Existing resources like timber, minerals or infrastructure
  • Current zoning and designated land use

You’ll also want to physically visit the property if possible. Look for existing structures, fences or lease activity. Check terrain, vegetation, development potential and aesthetics.

This initial assessment will help determine viability for uses like development, farming, recreation or conservation. It also establishes a baseline for valuing the land.

Responsibilities of a New Landowner

Inheriting property also comes with obligations to fulfill as the land steward:

Paying Property Taxes

Once recorded, you become responsible for applicable state, parish and municipal property taxes. Failure to pay could result in tax liens against the land. Check records to see past amounts due and get on calendar to avoid any gaps in payment.

Managing Existing Leases or Activity

If structures, farming, logging, hunting leases or other activity is already occurring on the land at the time of transfer, then you need to handle appropriately. You can elect to terminate agreements per terms or transfer leases to the new owner.

Limiting Risk and Liability

Restrict access as needed, posting signage and making visitors aware of rules. Carry a basic liability policy just in case. Monitor the property to limit illegal activity. You don’t want to become liable for injuries or damages.

Following Regulations

Make sure to follow all state and local regulations regarding things like waste management, chemical usage, water resources, mineral extraction, timber harvesting and land usage. Violations can mean hefty fines, so do homework if commercial resource activity is considered.

Completing due diligence to assess the inherited land and fulfill ownership obligations reduces risk while keeping more options open long-term.

Determining What to Do with Inherited Land

Figuring out the highest and best use for newly inherited property opens up a lot of possibilities.

Holding the Land

If sentimentally tied to the land, keeping it in the family as an inheritance for the next generation may be worthwhile. Responsibilities would continue around taxes, maintenance, leases and liability mitigation.

Recreational uses like camping, hunting or RV access are simpler ways to enjoy the land if location and terrain allows. Building a vacation or retirement home is another common option if zoning permits. Holding requires budgeting for ongoing costs but protects having the asset down the road.

Developing the Land Yourself

If properly zoned with good access and infrastructure in place, the land may hold potential for commercial, residential or industrial projects. Carefully model costs like permitting, site prep, utility connections, construction and marketing versus conservative sales or lease rate forecasts.

Execute upside scenarios like multi-family, storage facility or business park if seen as viable. If inherited acreage is smaller or constraints like wetlands exist, a single primary residence build still nets solid value.

Using a Joint Venture Partner

Development often requires specialized expertise plus capital resources exceeding what an individual landowner can access. An experienced developer may see potential for a large master planned community or multi-use project. Sharing risk and reward through a joint venture partnership could be explored.

The partner brings development experience, securing financing, managing permitting, overseeing construction and leading sales/marketing after paying an agreed price for a stake. As the original landowner, you still share in a pre-defined portion of upside profits.

Working with Conservation Groups

If land holds unique ecological value like habitats, wetlands or watershed access, conservation organizations may purchase property or fund protections through vehicles like conservation land trusts. This route helps preserve natural assets while still realizing payment for undeveloped land.

Government agencies also have grant programs that pay landowners to restore habitats, limit livestock grazing, reduce erosion through sustainable practices or dedicate tracts for wildlife protection.

Selling the Vacant Land Outright

Selling the land for cash is likely the simplest and fastest option to complete disposition while limiting ongoing liability. Values will depend on development potential, location, parcel size, resources available, zoning, access and area market conditions.

Undeveloped land without structures requires sufficient acreage, proper zoning and good access to attract buyers unless a site holds unique value like waterfront. Sales may happen quicker with more flexibility on price if selling to investment land companies with cash versus banks or individual buyers requiring financing.

Professional guidance helps analyze options, estimate values and market effectively to qualified buyers in order to optimize sale value. Most settlement companies and land professionals can facilitate fast, smooth closings as well.

Getting Professional Help

Seeking expertise navigating the process is highly recommended when inheriting land, especially for those without real estate experience.

Legal Counsel

An attorney can advise on wills, estate transfers, deeds, mineral rights, business entities and liability concerns. They also review any proposed agreements around leases, conservation easements or land sales.

Tax Accountant

Accountants optimize tax treatment of the inheritance plus help manage gains, losses and implications of activities occurring on the land after taking ownership.

Real Estate Professional

Agents and brokers understand area land values and demand drivers. They develop buyer networks and handle marketing and sales transactions if selling is the decided route. Many specialize specifically in vacant land transactions.

Land Management Companies

Firms like Land Boss that purchase investment property can assess land portfolios and make all-cash offers if liquidation is preferred. They evaluate development potential plus natural resources when valuing land holdings.

Make the Most of Your Inherited Land Gift

While sudden land ownership may feel overwhelming initially, taking the right steps unlocks opportunities. Accurately value holdings, weight viable use cases then choose to build, conserve, sell or partner to make the most of inherited property. With the right team helping guide best practices, your Louisiana land can become a true asset for years to come.

Final Thoughts

Inheriting property can seem both exciting and intimidating for those not engaged in real estate. The land holds potential yet managing responsibilities and optimizing value takes homework. But conducting due diligence like assessing exactly what you have, exploring use cases, and seeking professional guidance makes unwinding an inherited land gift doable.

Whether you hold for sentimental reasons, follow development dreams, take advantage of natural attributes through conservation programs or simply liquidate the asset for cash, smart planning reduces guesswork. Then you can confidently maximize returns from the invested time and resources while benefiting your family’s financial legacy going forward. Following best practices ensures your Louisiana land gift reaches full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What taxes are owed when inheriting land in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, inherited property is typically not subject to state inheritance or estate taxes. However, at the parish and municipal level, property taxes must continue being paid by new landowners after assuming ownership.

Is inherited property reassessed for tax purposes in Louisiana?

Yes, in most cases inherited property values are reassessed upon transferring to new ownership. Property appraisals impact the amount owed for parish and city property taxes on an annual basis.

What are the most common ways to use inherited vacant land in Louisiana?

Popular options include holding for recreational enjoyment or future generational transfers, building a primary residence or vacation home, partnering on commercial/residential development deals, selling the land outright, enrolling acreage into conservation land trust programs or leasing for purposes like farming, ranching or hunting.

What professionals commonly help navigate the inherited land process?

Attorneys assist with estate transfers, deeds, liability issues and reviewing agreements. Tax accountants optimize treatment upon inheritance and resulting activities/gains. Real estate agents market sale listings. Land companies assess value and make direct cash purchase offers.

What factors impact the market value when selling inherited land in Louisiana?

Values primarily depend on location, parcel acreage, development potential, mineral/timber resources, infrastructure access, zoning designations, appraised valuations, area market trends and conditions as well as buyer demand from both investors and end-users.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.

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