Counseling | We help clients plan for their land over time, protect its value, guide its legacy when passing it to other family members or bequeathing it to a favorite charity, conserve it for both ecological and tax benefit, and amplify its value as both wild habitat and a working landscape.
With advanced legal, appraisal, land planning, conservation, agricultural, and negotiation experience all rolled into one wholistic approach, Earth Asset helps clients avoid incredibly costly mistakes, and make informed decisions to preserve and enhance the value of their land.
We explore what the best uses and tools are for mid to long-term ownership, revenue generation, carrying cost offset, tax shelter, values-driven alignment, ecosystem benefit, and personal enjoyment.
We research emerging markets, consider non-agricultural complementary uses, anticipate diverse ownership, lease arrangements, and tax structure needs, create appropriate development and conservation planning and structuring, and formulate exit-strategies all to further our clients' goals.
We expect ours and our clients’ land assets to achieve multi-dimensional goals, serving as tangible hedges against inflation, climate change, and threats to personal and ecosystem security. Our long-term work with wildlife ecologists on our own holding, as well as with foresters specializing in wildlife habitat and water management, allows us to offer a unique set of considerations in designing land use plans, including forest stewardship for water security and non-timber yields.
We plan for land so that its uses harmonize with living systems to anticipate future market demands across all life-relevant industries--food, health, renewable energy, and building--ensuring both long-term ecosystem viability and wealth preservation.
Real estate assets characterize a significant portion of our clients’ wealth portfolios, making wealth preservation a core part of our work. Clients rely on us for trusted guidance in their quest for socially-responsible wealth management.
Our counseling services are tailored to meet each client’s unique set of circumtances, geographic location, social values and financial goals.
Examples of Project Types:
-regenerative, restorative land use strategies for long-term land investing
-research & recommend emerging market opportunities wiithin the context of perennial food systems
-rewilding, or wildlife-assisted, permaculture design planning integrating agroforestry & agroecology
-farmland transition planning
-forest stewardship strategies aimed at non-timber forest products
-carrying cost offset analysis
-property tax reduction opportunities
-integration of renewable energy systems
-multi-phased conservation easement planning
-multi-ownership land & value allocation planning
-maximizing value through tax opportunities
-multi-generational family planning
-1031 exchange opportunities
Land Conservation | Land conservation has become a favored wealth preservation tool because of its many benefits: it affords landowners the peace of mind about the fate of important family-held properties; it provides short and long-term ownership benefits; and it often times offers notable financial rewards – most often in the form of charitable tax deductions.
Founder & Managing Partner, Shawn Smith, is especially passionate about her conservation work. Her expertise in this highly-regulated specialty area is grounded in actual completion of IRS-qualified and Federal yellow book-compliant appraisals, and her review, drafting and term negotiation of easement documents on behalf of clients. Collectively, Shawn’s legal-planning-valuation credentials empower her with the critical ability to understand the implications of conserving a property from all of the important real estate asset aspects that must be considered simultaneously – use, value, and market appeal implications, both now and in the future. The smallest conservation easement document language modification could have enormous value-implications, and without an expert with Shawn’s background at the table these things can go undetected until it’s too late.
Today, Shawn works closely with clients interested in conservation planning as a lead project advisor. She can handle projects from start to finish, managing aspects like identifying the best land trust for the client to partner with, selecting a qualified appraiser to prepare the final compliant report, managing foresters if a timber cruise and timber capital value are necessary, surveyors if field-work is prudent, engineers if soil testing is called for, and wildlife and plant specialists if habitat delineation is needed.
What makes Shawn a unique conservation advisor is her ability to work closely with and understand the many professions represented in a conservation easement project. However, of greatest value is her ability to review proposed easement terms with a combined legal-appraiser’s eye; this ensures for her clients that their intent is accurately described and alerts them to terms that have value-implications so that they can make informed decisions about whether to accept or reject them. Closely related to this is Shawn’s ability to effectively manage the appraisal process, including reviewing the appraisal report with an appraiser’s eye, ensuring that the documented highest and best uses are sound, and that the asserted easement value is defendable--all to the end ensuring that no value is left on the table.
Shawn single-handedly takes on all of the responsibilities of a conservation project typically left to a landowner to try and navigate, or more often the case, an entire team of advisors who work in isolation from one another. Her appreciation of the significance of doing a conservation project comes through in her detailed and diligent approach, thoughtful recommendations for getting the project completed in a timely, cost-sensitive, conservative manner without comprising easement value, and ultimately achieving a conservation easement document that safeguards her clients’ goals.
Total Asset Value Protocol | Total Asset Value Protocol: A Methodology for Capturing the Triple Bottom Line - People, Planet & Profit, the culmination of Shawn’s 2006-2007 work in Bolivia and Peru with the World Bank and World Wildlife Fund challenged her to apply her US-based way of viewing and valuing real estate in a new context, where, for example value can be concretely defined--beyond mere timber yields--in a host of different ways, like rainforest ecosystem integrity, alternative cropping for emerging international markets, and security of harvest operations through tribal buy-in.
One of the successes of the South America project is that today Shawn is committed to ensuring that both traditional and non-traditional property values are considered and accounted for. This kind of accounting will come into play increasingly as climate and development pressures bear on global land resources, revealing new value opportunities such as: carbon sequestration; non-timber forest products like mushrooms or medicinal herbs; a hybrid renewable energy system integrating solar, water, wind and biofuel; a permaculture installation; biologically active topsoil; valuable watersupplies; or an ecologically significant (green) home.