Passing that beloved vacation home to your children

The family cabin up north, right on the lake and away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is a source of treasured memories for parents and children. It’s natural to want to pass that gift on to ensure future generations can enjoy it in the same way.

So how do you go about it? Here are a couple of steps you should consider taking.

Talk about it

It’s important to gauge the interest of your children before you leave the family cabin to them in your estate plan. Memories of warm summer days spent with loved ones at your vacation home can evoke strong emotions. But inheriting a property – even a cherished one – can bring new responsibilities.

Talk to your children. See which of your sons or daughters are interested in taking on the vacation home in the future. It’s possible one of your children is more attached to the property than the others.

Don’t skip out on the practical details. They should be made aware of things like maintenance, upkeep costs, taxes and other needs. That will help them make an informed decision. Doing so can help avoid surprises and disarm any potential sibling feuds before they even start.

Determine how to pass it along

Real estate can be passed down in a few ways, including:

  • Directly through a will
  • Via a trust
  • As a gift

There are pros and cons to each choice. One might be more expensive upfront than the others, for example, but lead to less work down the line for those inheriting the property.

The best course of action for your will depend on your goals and circumstances. An attorney can help you work through these options and find a suitable answer.

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