Fighting over the family cabin after the parents are gone is a far too common occurrence here in Minnesota. These are more than disagreements, they are pending litigation matters. These fights all too often devastate relationships between siblings. The Cabin Trust is an estate planning tool that lays out the parameters of use including detailed rules on equity, taxes, expenses, maintenance, labor, leasing/renting arrangements, and responsibilities for the family cabin. In other words, owning a cabin is a benefit as well as a burden. If some family members see it only as a benefit, while others see it as more of a burden, family relationships are bound to suffer. The good news is that with a properly drafted Cabin Trust, you can eliminate most, if not all, of the problems that arise.

Estate planning attorneys have for far too long treated the family cabin just like stocks or bonds. In other words, just another family asset. This leaves the children to decide between themselves to keep it, sell it, or have one or two kids keep it and pay the other kids off with other estate assets. However, this is rarely how these situations resolve themselves. No one has an emotional attachment to 1,000 shares of General Electric. But start talking about what to do with the family cabin and the sparks start to fly. Especially in Minnesota, the cabin is the family’s Kennebunkport. It might not have a large net worth, but it’s valuable because of the family memories created there.

Most parents would like to see the cabin continue as a family asset where their kids can continue to enjoy it with their own kids. Unfortunately, without the proper arrangements, instead of bringing the family together as intended, the family cabin can tear a family apart after the parents are gone. The kids often have very different lives and very different expectations of what should happen to the cabin. Even if they all agree to sell the cabin, there are often disagreements. And if they decide to keep the cabin, fights can erupt over its use, expenses, taxes and who is responsible for what etc. All too often the cabin becomes a nightmare for the kids rather than a precious shared family asset. In these situations, a cabin destroys family relationships that often never get repaired. The Cabin Trust can keep the cabin in the family and the kids out of court.

If you have a family cabin and you are concerned how your loved ones will handle this special asset once you pass away, you can call and schedule a free consultation with Minneapolis estate planning attorney Joel P. Mullen and learn how the Cabin Trust can ensure your family cabin is a legacy rather than a lawsuit.