Estate Planning for the Family Vacation Home

Written by Robert T. Nickerson

You looking to go the lake house and fish? Go to the beach and just tan? Go snowboarding at the mountain cabin? When you make that purchase, you want this to be a present for the family. You see this as something your children and children’s children can use, play with, and make memories of for the rest of their lives. Even with the maintenance costs, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
The gift of a vacation home does carry a lot of personal value and will likely create new memories. But we also have to note that if the right steps, then the memories for the adult children may not be so pleasant. Because of their high value, vacation home properties can create tension and competition between sibling. Perhaps a son wants to rent it out while the daughter wants to sell it. This is why the right planning is necessary and won’t create the drama you think could happen.
I would suggest some kind of partnership or a limited liability company to own the property. Many of the business documents will at least on paper have the set plans on who will manage everything. This includes setting up a budget, how the home is used and the ability to transfer the property to someone else.
I also suggest setting up a meeting with your children and discussing those goals and what you feel is important. You may also want to set a trust that would also set up a transfer of the property to your children should something happen to you. It’s easier when your still here to go over what you want for the vacation home. 
A lot of families do end up keeping the lovely vacation home for generations. But there are always going to be those where having a vacation home is not a part of their long term goals. If you don’t want to create the tension you could see something like this make, then a well built plan is what your going to need. I think you’d rather have this looked over before making that trip to the beach. 

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