Family Shared Vacation Homes

Physician's Money Digest, September 2007, Volume 14, Issue 9

So an elder family member has left their estate to you and your two siblings. Sounds great, right? But what happens when your little brother refuses to help pay the upkeep or your older sister wants to sell the property when you want to keep it as a vacation spot? Jointly-owned family property can cause havoc if a system for running and maintaining the property is not established. To avoid conflict, experts suggest setting up an agreement in advance to allocate usage of the home, payment of upkeep and improvement, and buyout strategies. Establish a voting system for big and small decisions regarding the property. Consider choosing one family member as primary caretaker with other members contributing through fees.

If you're planning to leave a property to multiple heirs, consider leaving the property to a trust or limited liability company and giving your heirs shares in the enterprise, instead of turning it over to them in name, to make it simple for those inheriting. Another option is to leave the property to the estate but give family members first option to buy.