As you bask on the deck of your Lake Lanier lake home this summer, you may start to wonder if your family will continue to enjoy it once you are gone. If you wish to keep your lake house in your family so future generations can use it, it is essential to include it in your estate plan.
Failure to ensure a transfer of ownership of a lake home can lead to complications and family disagreements. Here are some top factors to consider when deciding how to pass down your vacation home.
Find out who wants it
A second home holds a lot of sentimental value for some people. You may assume your kids want it, but do not overlook the crucial step of finding out who actually wants ownership. Certain heirs may or may not want the home for a variety of reasons, such as travel, upkeep or taxes. Some heirs may even prefer a more liquid asset instead of the lake home.
Consider the ideal form of ownership
There are various ways to leave a lake home to your family. One method is to include the home in your will and transfer the deed to your heirs. This results in whomever you name owning an equal portion of the home. This can cause tension among heirs, because equal ownership means everyone has an equal say in every decision concerning the property, including when someone can use it, whether to sell it or how to fix it up.
Another option is to place your home in a trust, which can reduce the disagreements commonly associated with outright ownership. With this method, you appoint a trustee to manage decisions about the home while your heirs become beneficiaries of the trust. A trust can also specify anything that may trigger the sale of a home, such as if a majority of the beneficiaries wish to sell it.