As the weather starts to get warmer, people begin planning for their summer vacations plans. For those individuals with a vacation, or second, home, these vacation plans might seem easier. There are many benefits to owning a vacation home: always having a place to stay and long-lasting family memories. However, there are detriments on the estate planning front that come from having a vacation home if individuals do not plan accordingly. Below are ways to incorporate vacation homes into estate plans, so families are prepared for the future.
Deciding What to Do with the Property After You Pass Away
When it comes to vacation homes, one critical aspect of the estate planning process is to decide what to do with the property after the owner dies. For most individuals, this will be leaving the property to someone else in their will. If they decide to gift the property, owners should think carefully about who they wish to receive per the will. Many times, parents will want to give the home to their children. But this can be more complicated when they want to gift it to all of their children, rather than a single individual.
For children to own the property equally, this will mean they all have an equal say over the use and management of the house. Because there has to be unanimous agreement, if the children disagree, this could lead to worsening relationships and infighting. In these cases, people will often recommend creating a Use and Maintenance agreement, which can dictate rules about how the property is utilized. While it is completely understandable that parents would want to leave a vacation home to all of their children, it is important to consider these potential issues when deciding who to gift the property to.
When planning for the vacation home, the owner should also consider the costs with maintaining the home, any association fees, and the ability of the potential heir to pay those fees. Some vacation home owners will provide for these fees in their estate plan, but in doing so, inadvertently leave out the other heirs, creating an uneven distribution upon death.
When deciding who to leave the vacation house to, the owner should include other people in the decision-making process. Talk with loved ones about who they think they are going to leave the property to and see their thoughts. Another benefit of communicating the potential plans with others is so that the people who will be receiving the vacation home can be prepared for the future.
Including a vacation home in an estate plan may seem simple; however, this is not always the case. People who are deciding to plan for their vacation home after they pass away, should contact an estate planning attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one with a vacation home needs assistance incorporating it into an estate plan, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. We understand that the estate planning process can be stressful, so we are here to help. With decades of experience, our attorneys can assist you in crafting an estate plan, incorporating new assets into your already formed estate plan, or revising documents you have in place. To schedule a consultation and to speak with one of our attorneys, give us a call today at 713-333-8900.