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Estate Planning Attorney Explains How to Leave a Vacation Property to Heirs Without Starting a Fight

Many California estate plans contain second homes, cabins or vacation property that parents want to leave to children. How your estate planning attorney constructs that bequest can lead to many more years of happy memories, or an intra-family squabble that destroys the memories that were made there.

A vacation home trust is an estate planning device your certified estate planning specialist can insert into your estate plan to prevent many of the issues that may surface after your death. In most estate plans, vacation homes are often passed to the next generation in equal shares, with equal responsibility for the expenses and upkeep. That arrangement works for some families. But knowledgeable estate planning attorneys want to head off the potential problems down the road when the property is handed not to two or three siblings, but ten cousins, each with their own families. Some of them may divorce, and California is a community property state which means that someone outside the family may claim an ownership interest in the property.

Your estate planning attorney can create a trust that defines how a property is to be owned, cared for, paid for and used once you pass away. The selection of a trustee, often a child, but sometimes a neutral organization such as a bank or CPA, is another issue your estate planning attorney will include in the trust documents. The trust should allow a family member who does not wish to own part of the property the option to sell his or her share to the others in the family.

A certified estate planning specialist can help you resolve some of the potentially thorny ownership issues within the trust. Examples may include the percentage of votes needed for major expenditures, such as additions and roofs, and minor maintenance repairs. For major expenditures, a supermajority may be desirable and a simple majority for minor repairs. Your estate planning attorney can provide guidance on how your trust can help remove some of the sticky situations in advance.

If you would like more information concerning your estate planning options, consult a certified estate planning specialist who can walk you through the various options that a cabin trust may create for your estate plan. Whether your estate planning goals are immediate or long-term, a qualified estate planning attorney will be able to counsel you on the best options available to you to meet your individual needs.

Kevin Von Tungeln is the Managing Partner of EstatePlanningSpecialists.com and Thompson Von Tungeln, P.C. Kevin practices exclusively in the areas of estate planning, probate, wills, conservatorships and trust administration.Visit www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com or www.linkedin.com/in/kevinvontungeln to learn more.