Many people consider the financial value of assets when planning the future of their estate, but what about the emotional value? Both money and memories can be tied up in a family cottage, making it a difficult thing to manage when the principal owners are no longer around. For this reason, the family cottage often ends up at the center of heated estate litigation involving Ontario families.
One of the things that can make cottages particularly difficult to manage in estate administration is the fact that many such properties are co-owned by additional family members. Added concerns, such as affordability and upkeep, can cause conflict within families. In some cases, families choose to simply sell the property once co-owners begin to pass away as they do not want to take responsibility for the property financially.
Those who do choose to keep the cottage in the family may hit some stumbling blocks. A governance structure should always be in place to clarify who can use the cottage, as well as who must attend to upkeep. As the property changes hands through multiple generations and personal situations shift, the likelihood of estate litigation can increase.
Those who are planning the succession of a cottage should consider a few things. The first and often most straight-forward questions is who can afford to care for the property. Once that is established, it is a good idea to clarify who is interested in the expenses that come along with such a property. Those who do find themselves in estate litigation regarding a cottage or any other property should connect with an Ontario lawyer.