Maine Family Camp Legacy Planning
Why plan to protect the legacy of your camp, cottage, lake house, or vacation home?
People lucky enough to own a Maine family camp, cottage, or vacation home often envision their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren enjoying their beloved family camp, cottage, or cabin. A camp is a place where memories will live on for the next generations, to leave their sandy footprints in the sand or build fires together.
Hence, leaving a camp to descendants gives the entire family throughout time, a place to gather and feel as one.
Therefore, without some thoughtful planning now, conflicts and problems may arise for future generations. Sometimes conflicts over vacation homes including camps, cottages, and cabins are hard to resolve and could even result in the loss of the property.
Importantly as you move forward with a plan for the camp, keep in mind that a camp plan is flexible. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The important thing is to have a plan in place. Don’t let perfection keep you from starting a plan today.
What to do with the camp – Rental Options
Camp owners know that they are expensive to keep. One alternative to help cover these costs may be to rent the camp from time to time. Unless the income received isn’t significant, it might not be worth the hassle and administrative costs to rent the cottage. However, it may be necessary to cover unexpected expenses to maintain the camp.
Before considering rental of your camp make sure:
- that rental is permitted under zoning and any restrictions that may apply
- make sure your insurance covers rentals and pay for any increased insurance coverage if necessary
- have a detailed contract for any rental management company
- make sure to pay any hotel taxes, if the state imposes any
Choose the right legal plan for your camp
There are many ways in which you can hold your camp. The correct plan will depend on individuals and their family dynamics. Legal advice is always recommended. Call your estate planning attorney to find out what might be the best for your family.
CAMP MEMBERS / MANAGING MEMBERS
Typically, if you hold your camp in a Limited Liability Company (LLC) make sure that the operating agreement spells out exactly who will be the camp members and the managing members. These members can vote on things like painting the camp, replacing the roof, new dock, etc. The managing member will be the one that controls the camp's accounts and is responsible for the expenses. These duties should also be spelled out in the operating agreement.
Ultimately there is nothing like the present time to plan for your camp, cottage, or cabin’s future survival. Some common reasons why people avoid taking the next step in camp planning include:
- It’s a difficult subject to broach with family members
- Unsure of how to start the process
- Deciding who will be the members in the camp plan
- Deciding who will be the managing member of the camp plan
To summarize, camp succession planning requires a lot of time and thought to ensure the camp’s operating agreement is done correctly. Engaging the services of an attorney that is familiar with succession planning is a good idea. We'd love to help you get started on protecting your family camp today. Give us a call at (207)848-5600.
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