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 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. The cabin often 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.
As Minnesotans, we know that the best way to spend the summer is at the Family Cabin. Nonetheless, at Mullen Law Firm, P.A. in Edina, we know that too often, once the parents who own the cabin die and pass it to their children, the beloved place can become a source of tension. For this reason, we are committed to helping our clients in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the surrounding areas create family cabin trusts.
Attorney Joel P. Mullen, Esq., has the legal skill and in-depth understanding of the problems around family cabin use, expenses, and maintenance to craft a family cabin trust that will protect your adult children from squabbling. He is well-prepared to customize such a trust as an important part of your estate plan to ensure that the next generation of your family continues to enjoy your legacy.
How Family Cabins Can Provoke Disputes Among Siblings
When a family cabin is being used by a single nuclear family, all generally goes smoothly since the group is accustomed to functioning as a unit. Once the children grow up, however, the dynamic changes. Each separate individual, couple, or family has their schedule, lifestyle, and desires, and it is easy for conflicts over any of the following issues to take shape:
- Ownership rights
- Upkeep costs
- Maintenance chores
- Leasing/renting arrangements
- Responsibilities for damage or repair
More than that, because the family cabin holds so many memories, it is special and valuable to each of the children who grew up spending time in it, but it may also hold old resentments and jealousies. Without careful planning by the parents and the establishment of a trust, there is a risk that family relationships will fray and that what was intended as a generous gift will become a bone of contention.
How Types of Real Estate Ownership Can Affect Your Family Cabin
There are several ways a family cabin may be owned. Defining the terms of such ownership is essential to understanding how property may be passed to the next generation.
Putting the Cabin into a Family Cabin Trust Is a Wise Decision
Here’s why: A living (inter vivos) trust allows you to control the use, transfer, ownership, and funding of your cabin during your lifetime, but the trust, not you or your children, owns the family cabin. When you die, the cabin in trust will automatically be transferred to the beneficiaries you have named while being managed by the person you designated as trustee. The benefits of this arrangement are significant.
Contact Our Experienced Minnesota Family Cabin Trust Lawyer Today
One of the most satisfying parts of making an estate plan is being able to imagine how the legacy you leave will provide security and enjoyment to those closest to you for generations. Let Mullen Law Firm assist you in crafting a trust tailored to your needs and will reflect your own personal family values by contacting us today.
Mullen Law, P.A. offers family cabin trust services to clients in Edina, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, and the surrounding areas in Minnesota. We are dedicated to helping our clients navigate through their estate planning needs with a focus on personalized attention and care.