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The Family Cottage

With the spring flowers beginning their bloom, and the warm weather slowly settling in, many Canadians turn their attention to summer plans at the cottage.  With this in mind, I thought it would be apropos to consider estate planning and the family cottage.

How to best plan for the family cottage is a question I hear all of the time.

At the outset, according to this Globe and Mail article, it is important to consider whether you want to keep the family cottage in the family at all.

If the answer is yes, there are numerous estate planning vehicles available in order to transfer the cottage.  As discussed in this prior Hull & Hull LLP blog, some options include making a specific bequest in a Will, where it can be left to certain beneficiaries who would receive the cottage absolutely and do with it as they please.  Alternatively, should you wish to impose limitations on what the beneficiaries can (or cannot) do with the cottage, a testamentary or inter vivos trust may be more appropriate.

Of course, any decision should consider the tax implications.  A prior Hull & Hull LLP podcast, found here, highlights the different options for dealing with capital gains tax in relation to the cottage.

Clearly, there are many options available and professional advice should be sought.  Doing nothing is rarely a good idea.  Look no further than the decision of Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate, where a lengthy dispute ensued over whether the deceased had sufficiently transferred a farm and cottage.

Noah Weisberg

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