What will your land look like 20 years from now?

Nov. 13 workshop will offer advice for estate planning

In 1972, Bob and Marilyn Rosenquist bought themselves a piece of the American dream – 40 acres of farmland in eastern Hugo with rolling hills and plenty of woods. Marilyn came from a big farming family in South Dakota and soon the couple was raising 16-17 cattle, with a couple of horses and kids in 4H.

After twenty years in the area, Bob decided to join the planning commission at City of Hugo, which he served on for 21 years. Later, he was elected to the board for Washington Conservation District (WCD). “I don’t consider myself a tree-hugger,” he says, “but there is a lot we could be doing better to protect our land and water resources.”

Bob Rosenquist
Bob Rosenquist and his wife Marilyn own 40 acres of farmland in eastern Hugo.

At the Conservation District, Bob Rosenquist learned about local conservation programs and was also surprised to discover that his property is part of a larger habitat corridor, listed as a “Top 10” priority conservation area in Washington County. “I had been there since 1972 and watched all of the building going on. I just sat looking out towards Hugo and how it changed as we were here. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to preserve this as something for the future?”

Upon further conversation, Bob and Marilyn decided to establish a conservation easement on 19 acres of their land with assistance from the Conservation District and Minnesota Land Trust. The easement allows the Rosenquists to retain ownership of their land, continue enjoying the woods and trails, and eventually sell or pass the property down to their children. Importantly, however, it also provides permanent protection against the possibility that their woods could someday be cut-down, sub-divided, or developed. “Let’s try to preserve this for the future,” says Bob. “It doesn’t need to be a park, but let’s keep it how it is.”

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A conservation easement on 19 acres of the Rosenquists’ property ensures that the woods will never be cut down or developed. But, the couple still retains private property rights to enjoy their land, pass it down to their children, or sell it as a contiguous parcel.

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the Washington Conservation District will offer a free estate planning seminar for people like the Rosenquists who wonder what their land might look like 20 years from now. During the workshop, advisors from Thrivent Financial and Cummins & Bonestroo Law will give an overview of estate planning fundamentals, and will also address several additional topics, including: Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT); Buy-Sell Agreements; Family Limited Partnerships; IRC Section 1031 Tax-Free Exchanges; and Charitable Giving. Staff from the Minnesota Land Trust and Washington County will also be at the seminar to provide information about land conservation programs and conservation easements.

The estate planning seminar will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2:30-4:30pm at the Stillwater Library and will be the third in a series for rural landowners that is offered by the Conservation District this fall. The first workshop, held on Oct. 22 in Scandia, featured presentations on perennial agriculture and conservation grazing. The second, to be held on Nov. 4, 6-8pm in Stillwater, will focus on large-acreage habitat restoration and will include information about the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the MN DNR Forest Stewardship Program. The series is co-sponsored by the East Metro Water Resource Education Program.

To learn more or register for one of the workshops, visit www.mnwcd.org/events.Lake Elmo Regional Park 2