You are sitting on your deck overlooking the lake, having a beverage on a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon in the middle of July when suddenly, next door, at the neighbor’s cottage, you notice activity. A caravan of vehicles with young adults begins arriving and unloading bags and provisions (mostly kegs of beer) and carrying their supplies into the cottage. An hour later, thumping music blares next door with 50 young people drinking beer and whooping it up on the beach in front of the cottage. You ask a young lady who they are and she happily replies, “We’re your neighbors for the next week. We rented the cottage from my aunt and uncle. It should be a blast!”
One stereotype I have encountered by some folks in response to my social media postings is that only people who are the “privileged few” or “rich” need to worry about cottage planning. The various responses to my posts portray a real sense of class warfare. For example, in a recent article where I explained planning strategies and opportunities, I received comments like, “… It must be nice to have a cottage to worry about, I have a hard time just paying rent on my apartment …” and many more to that effect.
I have written numerous articles about the benefit of planning for the succession of ownership of your family cottage in order to avoid non-family members from obtaining ownership rights to use the family cottage in divorce proceedings.
I previously wrote an article titled “New Michigan Property Tax Law Does Not Solve Common Ownership Problems.” In response to that article, I received several inquiries from individuals who had previously established an LLC as part of the succession plan for their family cottage and had terminated that LLC after the new Michigan law went into effect. The strategy behind terminating the previously formed LLC was that real property titled in the LLC did not qualify for the new exemption under the Michigan law. But that’s only half the story.