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Making a your home a vacation spot your kids can enjoy for years

It would seem simple enough, leave your much beloved home in Florida to your children so they can raise another generation of happy family members while enjoying the beach. However, when it comes down to it, you are not so sure if one or two of the kids can actually afford the luxury, or that they might prefer to sell it for cash.

While walking along the shore and taking in a favorite sunset, you may have a moment of realization that even with the best intentions and generosity, your grand gesture when you pass away may not garner the result you intend.

Verbal, even written agreements don't last forever

Perhaps you did sit down with your children and come to a unanimous decision regarding how the home's maintenance and upkeep would be paid for after your estate was settled. The plan sounds good, but will it hold up? It is it a long-term plan?

Maybe your kids have not established their careers, what if they don't have enough to pay for the property taxes and maintenance? In ten years will one of the families need some ready cash? Would they perceive money spent on a college education more important than painting the vacation home? Will one out of the three want to sell? Could the other two afford to buy him or her out?

Even if a written contract is in place dictating fees and other terms, contracts can be renegotiated. Your heirs may enjoy the beach house for a few years, but will your ultimate goal be achieved?

A trust may be your solution

There is an option available that sounds complicated, but in the end, it is simple and is designed to ensure that the property serves generations as a happy place meant for sharing holidays. That option is a trust.

Placing the title of the home in a trust and giving the trust an endowment can answer all your questions and allay doubts. The endowment serves to fund taxes, utilities and maintenance while the trust protects the property from being sold by any of the heirs.

The vacation home would remain available for your children, their kids and possibly for further generations to celebrate family milestones without bearing the additional burdens of ownership.

Managing the home

With the deed owned by a trust, it only remains to appoint or hire a manager of the trust. You can choose one of your children, but you do not have to go this route. Let's face it, your children might love one another dearly, but they agree on everything?

Instead of family members negotiating who gets access to the property at what time, a third-party manager serves as a travel agency or sorts for the siblings, taking in applications for use of the property and approving them on a first come/first serve basis. The manager is also responsible for ensuring the endowment continues to meet any financial obligations of the property.

Your estate planner is the best person to help

If you have a home that you adore and wish to share with your heirs upon your death, taking a little time now to consult with an estate planning professional is well worth your time. You can work through all the details and help ensure that the entire family will be able to remember you and your generosity.

In short, you can make your gift a benefit they can enjoy for years, instead of a burden that could end with anger, division or plain disappointment.

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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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