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Minnesota Cabin Planning Logo

With a little planning, you can keep your cabin in the family, without fighting!

Cabin Planning Coaching

Need some help navigating the conversation around making the cabin plan? We can help facilitate a respectful and productive discussion with the whole family.

Cabin Plan Drafting

We can put your wishes for the cabin into a legally-binding plan that can be used for generations to come.

Consultation & Coaching

We can provide the support and information you need even before you decide which cabin plan is best for your family. See our options below for more information.

Cabin Co-Ownership Agreements

A Cabin Co-Ownership Agreement is a contract among all the owners of the cabin, establishing the rules governing the cabin. Like the Operating Agreement in a Cabin LLC, the Cabin Co-Ownership Agreement can be changed by the parties to the agreement (or the people next in line), so the terms that are worked out now may be changed in the future.

Cabin LLC

A Cabin LLC is a business entity registered with the state that is formed for the sole purpose of managing the cabin property. The family members are each owners of a portion of the Cabin LLC, and the rules governing the cabin are detailed in the Cabin LLC’s Operating Agreement. Family members with voting shares can change the terms of the Operating Agreement, so the rules you establish now may or may not last after you’re gone. Don’t let the name fool you – you can set up a Cabin LLC even if you are the sole owner of the cabin. 

Cabin Trust

A Cabin Trust is a special trust that is designed to provide for the management of the cabin for many generations to come. There are many different ways to handle a Cabin Trust, and extra benefits like estate tax planning, creditor protection, divorce protection, and self-sustainability can be built in. Cabin Trusts are the gold standard for cabin planning.

Why Cabin Planning?

The first generation that buys a cabin enjoys it to the fullest and it’s a magical place where happy memories are made and families go for some much needed respite. Unfortunately, without thoughtful planning, the chances of the cabin staying a place of happiness and tranquility into successive generations is very, very slim.

If you haven’t done the planning in advance and made it legally binding, the family members (and their ex-spouses and new spouses) will have to work every detail out for themselves. If they can’t, what is likely to happen is a lawsuit called an action for partition that forces everyone to sell their interest. This lawsuit is expensive, and the costs of litigation will come out of the proceeds of the sale of the cabin, so to add insult to injury to those who wanted to keep the cabin but couldn’t afford to buy the others out, they are footing part of the legal bills in the lawsuit against them. Ouch! It’s no wonder that family members stop speaking for years after the cabin conflict is “resolved.”

You can’t make family relationships perfect, but you can take away much of the fuel for the family conflict fire. That’s what cabin planning does, and it has the nice side effect of giving you peace of mind now. 

Who Is Cabin Planning For?

Cabin planning is right for you if you don’t want your kids or grandkids to:

  • fight over who gets to use the cabin, and when
  • fight over who should pay for taxes, maintenance, and expenses
  • fight over who gets to decide about decor and amenities
  • sell the cabin when some of them still want to use it
  • have the cabin be a source of resentment and hard feelings
  • stop speaking to each other because of conflict over the cabin

What is the process like?

While every family has a different cabin plan (since every family is different), almost every family goes through the same process. Some move fast and some move more slowly, but everyone goes through the steps outlined to the right.

1. Talk to your family about the idea of cabin planning.

Sometimes cabin owners have the idea that their kids or grandkids would want the cabin because they’ve really enjoyed the family time they’ve spent there. While the great times are undeniable, the fact is that not everyone wants the responsibility of cabin ownership (and maintenance!) and cabin ownership doesn’t fit in everyone’s lifestyles. Before you go too far down the planning path, it’s a good idea to check in and make sure that your efforts will be welcomed and appreciated.

2. Have a consultation to explore your options and get your initial questions answered.

A consultation can go a long way to helping you figure out if cabin planning is right for you, and if it is, which type of plan best suits your goals and situation. 

3. Work out the detailed minutiae of your plan.

There isn’t a one-size fits all cabin plan. Each plan is unique as every family is unique. The answers to the important questions – the one’s that make your plan work seamlessly in your unique family – all come from you. Whether you work with us to facilitate the conversations that lead to those answers or you work it out on your own, the choices you make become the foundation of your cabin plan.

4. Create the legally binding documents that comprise your plan.

If you don’t get your plan into a legally binding document that can be enforced, all the choices and decisions you made for your family’s best interests can be undone at a whim of the next generations. The only way to really ensure that your plan is followed is to follow through and make it binding.

5. Execute the agreement, and transfer the property (if needed).

Once all the decisions are made, and they’ve all been thoughtfully recorded in your plan, and the legal documents have been drafted, reviewed, and finalized, you’ll be ready to sign on the dotted line. For Cabin LLCs and Trusts, you’ll be signing a deed transferring the cabin into the LLC or Trust, and the last step will be to record the transfer in the county records office where your cabin is located.

Planning Prices

No Further Obligation Consultation

If you want to talk with us about whether or not cabin planning would be valuable for your family, or if you have questions about how cabin planning could work for you, we offer consultations – and there’s no further obligation to work with us. We promise that the value of the conversation will far exceed the price.

More Details

Everyone in the family is welcome to participate in the consultation meeting. If it’s hard for you (or anyone else in your family) to come to our office for the meeting, we can set up a videoconference for everyone to be able to participate. We’ve had people participate from as far away as California! The consultation usually takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


Facilitated Family Decision Session

Sometimes talking about the future of the cabin can be difficult for families, either because of relationship dynamics or because of differences of opinions (or both). It can be an emotional conversation for some people, and sometimes an outside perspective can help keep the conversation civil and moving forward.

More Details

We will bring everyone together, either in person or through videoconference, and help you talk through all the decisions that need to be made, allowing everyone to be heard. We help families navigate the difficult conversations and provide valuable on-the-spot feedback about the pro’s and con’s of the choices the family members are considering. Each session is two hours; some families get it all decided in one session, while others need more than one session across multiple days.


Cabin Co-Ownership Agreement

A Cabin Co-Ownership Agreement may be the right solution for you if:

  • You are currently part owner of a cabin and you (or the other owners) do not want to set up a Cabin LLC or a Cabin Trust.
  • You have confidence that the terms of the agreement will be upheld by everyone once executed.
  • You are not expecting the cabin to stay in the family for many generations.
  • You are not concerned about providing funding for the taxes, maintenance, and expenses of the cabin, and you are not concerned about creditor or ex-spouse protection for future owners.
More Details

Cabin Agreement Pro’s

  • Most simple planning to do
  • Doesn’t require the property to be retitled or transferred

Cabin Agreement Con’s

  • Must be formed during your lifetime
  • Must give up some control during your lifetime
  • Most likely of options to be dissolved quickly
  • Nothing ensures that agreement will continue past initial parties
  • It is difficult to leave money for cabin taxes, maintenance, and expenses
  • Your interest in the  cabin is part of your probate estate, unless you have done some other planning that avoids probate
  • Your interest in the cabin is part of your taxable estate, unless you have done some other planning that avoids estate taxes
  • There is no creditor or ex-spouse protection for future generations; the best you can do is give the others the first right to buy out the interest


Cabin LLC

A Cabin LLC may be the right solution for you if:

  • You want to get family members involved in cabin management now.
  • You have confidence that your family will only change the initially established Operating Agreement for good, sound reasons.
  • You are not concerned about family members having money management issues.
  • You are not concerned about family members getting divorced.
  • Or, you have confidence that your family members will have the financial resources to buy out the interest in the case of another family member’s bankruptcy or divorce.
More Details

Cabin LLC Pro’s

  • Relatively simple to set up
  • Can be set up quickly
  • Can be more flexible for next generation to change the rules to suit their choices
  • Has the potential to last in perpetuity
  • Cabin LLC can be beneficiary of life insurance, and hold funds for paying taxes, maintenance, and expenses  so the next generation doesn’t have to

Cabin LLC Con’s

  • Must be formed during your lifetime
  • May need to give up some control during your lifetime
  • Rules can be more easily altered after you’re gone
  • It is more difficult to keep the cabin in the family over many generations
  • The existence of the Cabin LLC is a matter of public record
  • Your interest in the Cabin LLC is part of your probate estate, unless you have done some other planning that avoids probate
  • Your interest in the Cabin LLC is part of your taxable estate, unless you have done some other planning that avoids estate taxes
  • There is no creditor or ex-spouse protection for future generations; the best you can do is give the others the first right to buy out the interest

Starting at $5500

Standard Cabin Trust

A Standard Cabin Trust may be the right solution for you if:

  • You want to avoid probate or estate taxes.
  • You want to provide creditor and ex-spouse protection.
  • You want to make sure that the rules you establish stay in place.
  • You want to provide funding for taxes, maintenance, and expenses for generations to come.
  • You want your planning to remain private.
More Details

Standard Cabin Trust Pro’s

  • Can keep complete control until you die
  • Can keep the cabin in the family for many generations
  • Can leave every detailed instructions that must, by law, be followed
  • Can be put into effect upon your death or during your lifetime
  • Can avoid the probate process and be completely private
  • Can be structured to avoid estate taxes
  • Can be structured to provide creditor protection for future generations
  • Can be structured to provide protection from ex-spouses for future generations
  • Cabin Trust can be beneficiary of life insurance, and hold funds for paying taxes, maintenance, and expenses so the next generation doesn’t have to
  • Cabin Trust can have a Cabin Trust Endowment that provides funds for paying taxes, maintenance, and expenses so that future generations won’t ever have to

Starting at $5500

Legacy Cabin Trust

A Legacy Cabin Trust may be the right solution for you if:

  • You want all the benefits of a Standard Cabin Trust, and
  • You want to be able to keep the cabin in the family indefinitely into the future
More Details

Legacy Cabin Trust Pro’s

  • All the pro’s of the Standard Cabin Trust
  • Can keep the cabin in the family without any time limitation in the future

Legacy Cabin Trust Con’s

  • The trust must be set up in a neighboring state that allows for perpetual trusts
  • There must be a trustee designated in that state
  • There will be annual professional fees for the trustee if you do not have someone in your family who is a resident of that state and qualified to serve

Starting at $8500

“By the way, if you think this planning sounds expensive, you are right and you are wrong. I can guarantee you that it is substantially less costly than it would be for your family to fight over the cabin after you’re gone, and I’ve never had a family who believed in the value of this important planning to leave my office because they couldn’t afford it. We’ve made monthly payment plans available because we know this planning is the foundation for peace in your family for generations to come.”

About Us

Lucere Legal Logo

The estate planning and real estate attorneys at Lucere Legal, a Twin Cities based law firm that serves clients throughout Minnesota, are the cabin planning team that families have come to depend on for cabin planning, administration assistance, and real estate matters. More than just planning, Lucere Legal has the expertise and experience to handle any cabin related issue that your family may have.

Cabin Planning Attorney Kimberly Hanlon   Kimberly Hanlon

Kimberly is one of the founding attorneys of Lucere Legal, and she has worked with many families to create cabin plans that are tailor fit for their particular needs. She is also the author of The Minnesota Cabin Planning Guide and Workbook, the definitive and easy to follow guide for Minnesota cabin owners.


Get the Minnesota Cabin Planning Guide & Workbook

In our Cabin Planning Guide & Workbook, we help you to figure out which planning option may be best for your situation and your goals . . .

We ask the questions that you will need to answer before you can get your plan in place, like:

  • How should the cabin use be managed – for regular times, and for high-demand times like holidays?

  • How should taxes, maintenance, and expenses be handled? Based on use? Based on equal responsibility?

  • What if someone never uses the cabin, so they don’t want to pay?

  • What if someone wants to do work on the cabin in lieu of paying expenses?

  • Who decides how to decorate and furnish the cabin? Who decides when to replace or update the stuff in the cabin?

  • What if someone wants to sell their share in the cabin?

  • What if the people who want to keep the cabin can’t afford to buy out the one who wants to sell?

  • What if someone goes through a divorce or a bankruptcy – do you want to protect the cabin from ex-spouses and creditors?

And many, many more important questions.

You probably don’t have the answers to all these questions now, and that’s okay. The Cabin Planning Guide & Workbook is designed to pose the questions that you didn’t know you needed to ask and provide you with some ideas and options that could help you in figuring it out. You can use the guide as a road map in navigating the discussion with your family and as the starting place in working with your attorney, whether you choose to plan through us or with someone else.

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