Meeting Materials

Session 3: Musical Chairs & the Family Cottage: What Happens When the Music Stops & There’s Not Enough Room at the Inn?

Whether it’s planning a lifetime succession or divvying-up the family home or cottage after Mom and Dad die, balancing interests and use present complex legal, drafting, interpersonal, and emotional challenges at almost every phase. In these cases, a lot of attention, and even cajoling and openness from the clients, in advance can go a long way in paving the road to a successful transition. Yet, there almost always are speedbumps along the way and, occasionally, you still have to grapple with Robert Burns’, To a Mouse (“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley”). The panel expects a lively and far-ranging discussion that includes, among others, the following:

  • How family cabins and cottages came to be part of our lifestyle. And are Canadians really any different?
  • Methods of transfer & drafting options – trusts, LLCs, or partnerships?
  • The importance, even necessity, of honesty, due diligence, realistic expectations, and flexibility during the planning process.
  • Personalities of the parents, their kids, and their kids’ spouses, and challenging the notion that “my kids would never act like that.”
  • Governance & management – It’s rarely just about the trust instrument or entity agreement. And is the client rewarding value and good work, or just coddling the underachiever? Sometimes, it’s little Johnny’s own fault that he’s never caught a break.
  • Funding family fun at the cottage and the joys of scheduling: Will the kids be able to share when Mom and Dad are gone, even if they never did while growing up? What role can a tenancy agreement play?
  • Exit strategies that don’t make it seem like a time-share: Defined values and valuations at certain inflection points, particularly when someone wants out.
  • North of the border considerations for Bob & Doug McKenzie (by way of “Kanadian Korner” and the “Great White North”). If the holiday home is outside the U.S., consider situs wills, type of entities, forced heirship, foreign inheritance taxes.

Speakers: Wendy S. Goffe, Peter S. Gordon, Shaheen I. Imami (Materials Only), Dina Kapur Sanna