How to Handle a Vacation Home During Will and Trust Administration in San Diego

From the Desk of San Diego Trust Lawyer, Kristina R. Hess

Dealing with a Vacation Home During Wills and Trusts Administration in San Diego

Wills and trusts administration lawyers in San Diego often have the opportunity to work with local families who—in addition to planning for their regular home—also have a vacation home to take into consideration during the planning process. While you might think that real estate prices or the vacation home’s location would be the driving forces behind putting it through the wills and trusts administration process, there are actually other, highly compelling reasons.

Vacation homes don’t just come with the baggage you pack to spend a family holiday on the lake, in the mountains, or on the coast; they also come with a lot of emotional history. By working with a wills and trusts administration lawyer, those leaving the vacation home behind can take this history into consideration. They may be best served to really spend some time taking their heirs’ perspectives into consideration when determining how the home should be handled.

For some family members, the vacation home may be an important part of family history, full of memories and personal rites of passage. These folks might prefer that the property be safeguarded in some sort of trust or passed as-is to heirs in a will. On the other hand, there may be family members who are less emotionally attached to the home and see it as their parents’ investment in a stable financial future. These family members would be more inclined to sell the property and share the proceeds.

There are plenty of other aspects of the situation that the original owners would want to explore with a wills and trusts administration lawyer in San Diego. For example, would any potential heirs be financially able to maintain the property, pay taxes on it, etc? If not, then it may be time to consider either selling the vacation home or finding a means to fund the trust so it can meet these obligations.  If a Trust is set up to maintain the vacation home as a legacy for future generations, funds should be set aside for the taxes, insurance, and maintenance of the property in the Trust.

Other thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Do heirs live close enough to the vacation home to actually use it?
  • Could you leave the vacation home to those who would most appreciate it and balance that with a different inheritance for others?
  • Is there someone you could name as a trustee who could oversee the property on behalf of the trust?
  • Would it be possible for some family members to buy others out of their portion of the property?
  • Could the property be rented out when not in use by family members as a way to support its own upkeep?

Because there are so many variables that can come into play—money, grief, family tension, tradition, etc., etc., dealing with a vacation property during estate planning is something that is probably best done under the guidance of an experienced wills and trusts administration lawyer in San Diego.

For additional questions about estate planning in San Diego or to speak with a will or trust lawyer, contact our office in San Diego for assistance.

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Estate Attorney in San Diego, Kristina R. Hess