Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

Estate Planning – The Family Vacation Home – golden memories or family discord?


As we wrap up another beautiful summer in Northern Michigan, many are closing up the family vacation home for another season. For many parents and grandparents, these homes hold the fondest memories of magical summers filled with good times and warm feelings.

You may dream of leaving this vacation home for your children to pass down and enjoy for generations to come. But is this what your children really want?

While your children enjoyed their childhood days at the summer cottage, they may not be eager to recreate this experience again. Life is different today.

Parents and grandparents are often surprised and disappointed to find that their children and grandchildren do not want the responsibility of a summer vacation home. They are not interested in re-creating the memories of childhood. They are eager to move on to new experiences in new places.

While you may dream of your family gathered around the campfire long after you are gone, it may be that they do not share your dream. Often children hang onto family property, not because they want to, but because of a sense of guilt. It’s what Mom wanted.

It may be difficult to believe that what you want to give to your children is not, for them, going to be a blessing, but a source of guilty feelings and sibling discord.

As you close up the summer cottage, now may be a good time to have a conversation with your children and grandchildren. Find out how they truly feel about the home, both now and into their future. You may find that alternative planning is required.