Family cabins provide memories of times sitting in the sun, sipping wine or drinking beer, however for some families the cottage goes from being the family castle to being the family haunted house.
Whenever a married couple owns a family cottage their wills should state who gets the cottage after the last of them dies. Many time the couple will want to give the cottage equally to all their children equally. While other times people may want to create various other vehicles for the ownership of the cottage such as the creation of a family to purchase the cottage, creation of a family trust, or a shared ownership agreement for the land. All of these schemes have their own positive and negative points and each families circumstances will determine which mechanism is the correct way to deal with the cottage.
The best time to determine what should be done with the family cabin is when you are alive. After you die the options for handling this asset are extremely limited. If you have a cabin or cottage here are the most important things you should do:
A. Start Communicating. Talk to every member of the family and find out who has interest in the cabin.
B. Create a Plan. If you decide that more then one family member is going to own the cabin, talk to a lawyer or your accountant about setting up a plan which stipulates the maintenance of the cabin, the use of the cabin, and what happens if an owner wants to sell or dies? Who is going to be responsible for paying the taxes for the cottage when you die? You may need to draft a co-ownership agreement that outlines all the rules for owning and using the cabin.
C. Get Professional advice. Get the advice of an experienced wills and estates lawyer. Don't devise this plan on your own.
If you and your family need help drafting a co-ownership agreement for the family cabin talk to our office today. Remember we are here to help.