If you’re lucky enough to have a second residence where family getaways and annual vacations occur (by a river perhaps, or far off in the woods), you likely feel truly blessed.
From California to Connecticut, millions of American families have cabins at which they periodically congregate to de-stress and reconnect, with some of those properties having played an important role in family bonding and memory making for decades.
In fact, their connectivity is a key part of their appeal, with the chord that such properties sound for many families being deeply intimate and emotional.
It is for that reason that thoughts often turn to the family cabin (for some people, cottage) when discussion turns to family planning and estate administration.
It is certainly a question that instills silence and immediate attention: What is going to happen to the cabin?
You may have — likely have — forged priceless memories with your children in such a second home. In many instances, important life moments have occurred there for several generations of family members.
As noted in one recent article on family cabins and succession planning, human ties to such a property are often “deeply ingrained in [a] family’s culture.”
And that connection virtually ensures that, notwithstanding what ultimately happens to the cabin, a deeply focused and emotional discussion will ensue regarding its future status.
As the above-cited piece points out, “not all families are great candidates for cottage succession planning.” There are many distinct and often complex issues surrounding the decision whether to keep or ultimately forgo a family property, and unanimity among family members is hardly ensured in every case.
A proven estate planning attorney can play an important role in discussing cabin/cottage succession planning with a family, helping to point out key matters relating to shared financial responsibilities, asset protection, the safeguarding of a holding in the event of a future divorce and other issues.
If that second home is never far from your mind, it is likely worth the time and effort required to fully explore all considerations relevant to keeping or one day letting go of the property.