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Cottage Law


The family cottage: the image conjures thoughts of relaxing under a shady stand of oaks, splashing in the lake, and the distinct smell of a campfire. A cottage is often an individual’s most important asset, if not from a financial standpoint, then certainly from an emotional one.

Deciding how future generations will benefit from the family cottage is often difficult. Yet, appropriate planning will allow a family to enjoy the cottage for generations.

Issues to consider include:

  • Tax Issues: estate taxes, property taxes, avoiding an uncapping event
  • Passing the cottage down to future generations: legal entities to own cottage, family member participation; scheduling, maintenance and rules for use
  • Boundary issues: riparian bottomlands ownership, dry-land dispute

At Varnum, we can guide you through the steps of planning for your cottage, offering sound advice and unique techniques to allow you to pass the cottage on to future generations.

For more information, please contact either your Varnum attorney, Chris Caldwell at 616/336-6951 or, or Laura Radle at 616/336-6415 or

If you are interested in a presentation on cottage law for your group or lake association, please contact Janette Allen or Dianne Freeman.

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