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How to Hand Down a Family Vacation Home

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By Amy Hoak

There are benefits and drawbacks to each; it’s best to consult a professional on what course is best for your family.

When there are multiple people who will gain ownership of the property, it’s also best to appoint someone as manager. That person will pay the insurance premiums, utility bills or repair the roof in the case of an emergency, she said. Sometimes the role of manager is rotated every couple of years, and it often comes with a reward of an extra time slot at the vacation home or a longer or a more desirable slot, she said.

House Rules: By establishing house rules, everyone is clear about how time slots to use the vacation home are chosen, and how they need to leave the home once they’re done.

Some families create a checklist to ensure towels are washed, folded and put away; the dishwasher is empty; and perishables are removed from the refrigerator, Goffe said. Failure to follow the rules can bring consequences, such as having your next use period shortened by a day or having the last pick of time slot next season, she said. Or, if a professional cleaner has to come to tidy up after you, you might have to pick up the bill, Goffe said.

It’s also important to create rules on how someone can get rid of their share of the home — especially if they don’t have the means to pay expenses. “The person who wants out can have a lot of energy around that,” which can lead to messy family conflicts, Allred said.

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