GIFTING THE COTTAGE TO THE KIDS, mmm...
... can they afford the Gift?
When you think of your family cottage you don't think of it as a building, property or asset, but the birthplace of a kaleidoscope of memories. Whether you toiled with pride to build or renovate the cottage or not; one thing is almost always a constant, the fond memories its existence created. These memories are usually universal and soul piercing.
The cottage time is the virtual memory of the evolution of your family. The fondness with which your children share these memories are usually evident and viewed as "wonderful" times.
- The May two-four weekend; usually starts the cottage season. May 24 is a date, not a quantity of beer; although often interchanged. The list of memories are endless.
- Jake catches his first sunfish.
- The bonding with John, while building a Seaflea.
- Sara freaks at a garter snake.
- The annual corn or pig roast that reunites family and friends.
The romantic autumn weekend getaway for just the two of you, with the calling of the loon; the sunset across the lake, the cozy fireside, bottle of wine... well you, better than anyone know the rest.
If you really think about it, the acquisition of the cottage was motivated by a desire to lay a foundation for building those memories. When you started out, if at all, you never thought of the cottage merely as an investment. For most it has become the catalyst for one of the "legacies of your family's life". Let me repeat that. "The Cottage represents a Legacy of your Family's life."
The question is, will the legacy endure? Sure, while you are around to nurture the memories; but what about after. It is important not confuse the cottage with the legacy. The cottage and the legacy is not the same. The cottage helped create the legacy. The legacy is the kaleidoscope of memories and the bonding of family and friends. If you keep these concepts in perspective the cottage has the potential to be a catalyst to protect the existing legacy and perhaps create a new legacy. This is so important, let me repeat.
The cottage is NOT the legacy. The cottage was the catalyst that created the "Legacy of your Family's Life. In the absence of other forces, while the cottage may not last, the legacy will endure during the rest of your life, and probably beyond.
After that, depending on how you deal with it, the cottage has the potential to be a catalyst to perpetuate the legacy and perhaps create new ones. The real danger is that if the issue of cottage succession isn't dealt with in an efficient and most importantly an effective manner, the legacy that the last number of decades saw formulate will be not only jeopardized but can be shattered needlessly.