The Family Vacation Home—How to Handle It in Your Estate Plan
Many families are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a family vacation home. Whether you
have a cabin in the woods, a chalet near the slopes, or a condo at the beach, you need to pay
particular attention to how the property is handled in your estate plan in order to avoid conflict
Unlike other assets that can be transferred directly to one beneficiary or sold and the profits
divided among many beneficiaries, you may wish your vacation home to remain accessible to
numerous beneficiaries after your death. If you have adult children who use the property
throughout the year, you may wish to continue this tradition. This requires some creative
Titling the property jointly is an option; however, it comes with some potential complications.
Who will handle the maintenance and upkeep? If one beneficiary lives close by then those
responsibilities will likely fall to him or her. This could lead to disputes among the beneficiaries.
What if one beneficiary wants to cash out at some point in time? You will need to make
provisions for this possibility.
Another option for your family vacation home is to create a trust that will oversee the property.
By transferring the property into a trust you can potentially avoid disputes among the
beneficiaries regarding how the property will be used and who will maintain the property. You
will be able to appoint a neutral trustee for the property who can handle all of the
administrative issues regarding the property. Your trust terms can also dictate how and when
the property will be used. In addition, your trust terms can address what is to be done if a
beneficiary wants to cash out at some point in the future.
Make sure that you talk to your estate planning attorney about the best way to handle your
vacation home in your estate plan. By planning ahead, you should be able to avoid conflict and
continue to provide years of enjoyment to your family long after you are no longer here.
Experienced estate planning attorneys St. Louis MO of the Purcell and Amen, Attorneys at Law
– Your Estate Matters, LLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents
of St. Louis MO. To learn more about these free resources, please visit