The Silver Life - Online community and resource for active Silver Surfers

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

The Silver Life

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

Vacation Homes Need Careful Planning

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In the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia, we have watched many new families enjoying their newly purchased vacation homes. Thankfully, they have enjoyed a relatively peaceful season.

However, as the summer winds down, the reality of second home ownership becomes known by preparation for the winter season. Part of that new normal is the question: how do you make sure your children and grandchildren are aware of your vision for this property?

Do you see the property as binding the family together for generations to come as they continue to vacation together? Or are you more concerned about the issue of equity, in that some children are unlikely to ever use the property, while others may use it heavily? There is no right or wrong answer, it’s just a question of your planning values and goals.
One option for passing on a vacation home is to leave it to your children in your will. One issue with this is if the children own the house equally, as joint tenants or tenants in common, and if one sibling wants to sell, that sibling can demand to be bought out. Most importantly in that instance, if the other siblings can’t come up with the money to ‘buy out’ the sibling, they can now force the sale of the house.

Before you decide to leave your vacation house to your children outright, have a family meeting to find out whether all the children actually want the house. If they do, then discuss specific issues, such as who will be responsible for maintenance and property taxes, and who has the right to use the property. Putting a plan in writing can help prevent or resolve disputes later. The plan can also include a ‘buyout option’ if any heirs decide they no longer want to own the property. The buyout price can be less than if the property is sold to a third party and payment terms can extend over several years.

Rather than giving the property to your children outright, you can also put it in a trust or a Limited Liability Company (LLC). LLCs have become a popular estate planning tool for sharing vacation homes. Using an LLC allows parents to transfer interest in the LLC to their children while still retaining control. Property in an LLC is also protected from creditors.

The dream of a family vacation home has become a reality for many, but without careful thought and planning, may end up causing a family division.

Be Educated! Be Proactive!

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About the Author: Leonard F. Baer

Leonard Baer's practice focuses on Elder Law, and Estate Planning. His previous experience was in the area of complex criminal litigation, serving as Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division for The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Baer was recognized by the Office of The Attorney General, as one of the top prosecutors in the country during his tenure. He has been included in North Carolina Top Rated Lawyers, a distinction awarded to those lawyers recognized by their colleagues as leaders in their field. He has also been recognized by the Florida Bar, for his efforts in representing seniors and their families, who are victims of scams and fraud. Mr. Baer is an AV rated lawyer listed in Martindale-Hubbell, and has been selected for inclusion in their Bar Registrar of Preeminent Lawyers, which for over 90 years, includes only those select law practices that have earned their highest rating. He has been designated by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent in his field, and in the top 5% of all lawyers practicing in the United States. Mr. Baer has also been ranked by AVVO, an online Legal Directory of over 200,000 lawyers nationally, as Superb, their highest rating. He served as adjunct professor of Sports Law at The University of Miami, and is a frequent lecturer on the topics of Elder Law, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Fraud Protection. He has been a columnist for several newspapers for over 13 years and currently has a nationally syndicated blog, “As I See It” with a readership of over 25,000. Leonard is a Guest Contributor of The Silver Life and has recently launched a new service called SuddenlySolo1 -

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