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How to Hand Down a Family Vacation Home

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By Amy Hoak

family_vacation_home(MCT)—Vacation homes are often places where happy family memories are made. Unfortunately, they can also be the source of headaches and disputes when heirs disagree about how to manage them.

So, as many second homeowners are closing up their family retreats for the season, it might be a good idea for those at or nearing retirement age to think about how they might pass the asset down to the next generation — especially when multiple children and their spouses will be entering into joint ownership.

“Mom and Dad start out with ‘everything is working out just fine,’ but when you try and walk them a decade forward, sometimes they can see that things might not go as smoothly,” says Wendy Goffe, a Seattle-based estate attorney who has helped many families talk through the issue.

More clients are approaching Merrill Lynch Private Banking & Investment Group for help in transferring a home from one generation to the next, said Stacy Allred, director of wealth structuring for the group. “They wanted to keep the vacation home in the family, and they were seeing what was happening with their neighbors — a vacation home gone bad,” she said.

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