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Dealing With The Family Cottage In Your Will

cottage will ottawa lawyerMy last blogpost explored some ways for dealing with the family cottage. Some options for transferring the cottage to the next generation can be accomplished while you are alive. But perhaps you would prefer to continue owning and controlling the family cottage during your lifetime and let the family have it after your death.  If that’s the case, you can deal with it in your Will.

There are several ways to deal with a family cottage in a Will.  Deciding which one is best for you and your family will depend upon your estate planning goals and the wishes of other family members. Here are a few possible ways the cottage could be dealt with:


  • direct that the cottage be sold and the proceeds shared equally among your children;
  • gift the cottage outright to one or more of your children; or,
  • grant one or more of your children the option of purchasing the cottage from your estate.

If you leave the cottage outright in your Will to several of your children and they do not have the financial means to maintain it, perhaps your Will should include a trust fund to pay such costs as property taxes, insurance, major repairs, etc. If you leave the cottage to just one of your children, you can even things out in other ways so that all of your children are treated equally.

When thinking about the options, ask yourself,

  • Would my children be able to amicably share the cottage?
  • Do my children live close enough to use the cottage or are they willing to travel there annually to enjoy it?
  • Are all of my children interested in shared cottage ownership or would one prefer to own it alone and pay the others for their share?

We recommend that you ask your children for their thoughts on the matter. When the family gathers for Thanksgiving, for example, take the opportunity to hear what everyone has to say before deciding what option would work best for your family.

Unless the cottage is the only residence that you own at your death, capital gains tax is likely payable upon your death. Consider whether there will be enough money in your estate to pay the taxes owing or will your children be forced to sell the cottage in order to raise the needed funds. As capital gains tax will be paid from the estate, consider having a life insurance policy in place that can cover the capital gains tax liability.

Are you considering transferring your cottage after death? Call 613.836.9915 or email to make an appointment to meet with me at my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa. Together we will review all of the options and your estate planning goals so you can make the best choice for you and your family.

Reproduction of this blog is permitted if the author is credited. If you have questions or if you would like more information, please call us at 613 836-9915. This blog is not intended to be legal advice but contains general information. Please consult a lawyer or other professional to determine how the information in this blog might apply to you.

Blog posts pre-dated December 1, 2015 were originally published under Neff Law Office Professional Corporation.

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