The family cabin or lakehouse is more than a valuable family asset; it’s a tradition and a legacy to many Minnesota families. Frequently, clients come to my office asking how they can assure their cabin stays in the hands of family for years to come. There are generally two methods used: a cabin trust or a Limited Liability Company (“LLC”).
With either a ‘cabin trust’ or an LLC, the rules of the cabin can be set during the original owner’s life. There are some important considerations, such as who will pay the bills, who will make major decisions and who gets to use the cabin and when. Often, schedules are set in advance. Also, one scheduling option I also enjoy seeing is the “floating family time.” This is a time where any and all family members can use the cabin, creating a de facto family reunion every year, long after the original owners have been deceased.
The cabin trust can be a little less flexible. Once the creators (generally parents) die, the trust becomes irrevocable. Future changes become difficult. An LLC allows members (future beneficiaries) to make changes. There are often member restriction agreements allowing beneficiaries to sell their interest but providing family first options to buy.
There are additional costs for a trust or LLC beyond the drafting of a ‘simple Will’. Yet, to many with a lifetime of family memories around the cabin, it’s worth the investment.
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