Managing a Family Home
After two or three generations, a desirable vacation home can become an overwhelming financial and managerial responsibility. While the entire family of grandchildren and great grandchildren might agree that they don’t want to sell the family summer home, the details of how to maintain the home for equitable use might cause serious internal rifts.
If your family has a valuable family home perfect for vacations, work with an estate planner to create a sustainable method for keeping the home in the family in perpetuity. To start, the home should go into a trust so as to avoid repeatedly going through the probate courts as it passes from generation to generation.
In creating the trust, you can create the rules that help the trustee manage the property. For example, the trustee can demand that each person pay a fee for using the home. For a low nightly price, each family member can pay into the trust for routine costs like taxes and upkeep.
If you are still the sole owner of the property, but you want to ensure the home is available for several generations, then ask your lawyer to create a long-term plan for managing the property. In addition, make sure to stipulate when and how the home can be sold, and what to do with the money once the home sells.
Owning a desirable summer home can be a fun way for the family to gather together. But without sufficient direction, the family home could become more divisive than unifying for the family.