When property is passed from one generation to another, the first generation usually takes care of maintenance and improvements, decides on priority projects, and pays the bills. According to a press release, after the first generation, maintenance and ownership issues can be complex and difficult to resolve. In many cases, the second generation and beyond face some serious challenges involving the vacation property, including but not limited to:
- The geographic dispersion of family members
- Disparity of wealth
- Unaligned visions for the future
- Conflicting values and priorities for maintenance and improvements
- Historical baggage
To avoid destructive conflict and possible litigation down the road, it’s important that families plan ahead to avoid or at least minimize problems. Key questions include:
- What should the ownership structure look like, and what are the options?
- How should the property be governed to address questions regarding maintenance, improvements, scheduling use, cost-sharing, etc.?
- If there are multiple owners, what happens if there is a buyout request? A divorce? What happens if the parties cannot reach an amicable agreement?
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program and the Edgartown library will co-sponsor a public program to address these questions.
Panelists Jack Wofford and Martin Tomassian, both attorneys and mediators, will discuss the realities, challenges, and options for families to consider. The program will be from 6 to 8 pm at the Edgartown library. Attendees will have an opportunity to present issues for consideration, and there will be an open discussion period following opening remarks.