March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

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March 15, 2019

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What is an LLC and How Does an LLC Work?

Many cottage owners have heard of others who have established a “Cottage LLC”. But what exactly does this mean? What is an LLC? How does an LLC which owns a cottage work and why would someone use an LLC to own his or her cottage?

Simply put, an LLC is a “limited liability company,” which has some features of both partnerships and traditional corporations. It provides greater liability protection than individual ownership and may have perpetual existence. However, an LLC is also somewhat simpler to manage than a traditional corporation.

In an LLC the owners are called members. The LLC can be controlled either by its members or by managers who are selected by the members. In family cottage situations, selecting one or two managers (who may be members) typically works best.

The rules and regulations of an LLC are set forth in the LLC’s operating agreement. The operating agreement can be as basic or as detailed as the members wish. At a minimum, when created for cottage ownership, the operating agreement should discuss the potential sale or transfer of the cottage, management responsibilities, contributions for expenses, potential for renting, scheduling of time, liability of the owners, and an exit strategy if one owner wants to end the relationship. The primary goal of the LLC – as addressed by the operating agreement – is to provide clear rules, rights and obligations for all of the members.

Cottage owners often need to use an entity that will provide a liability shelter (for example, if the cottage is rented to third parties). But the owners also need an entity that does not require a lot of time to maintain. And, most importantly, because cottage owners want to be able to tailor the operating agreement to fit their lifestyles, they need an entity that is flexible. The LLC has all of these attributes, making it a great match for cottage owners. And once an LLC is established, cottage owners will be able to focus on the fun part of their ownership, spending carefree and conflict-free time at the cottage.

© 2019 Varnum LLP

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About this Author

Christopher J. Caldwell, Estate planning lawyer, Varnum
Partner

Chris is a partner and leads Varnum's Estate Planning team. Chris is acutely aware that advising clients on estate planning and wealth succession requires an intimate understanding of the client's goals, hopes, desires, and concerns in order to accurately prepare an appropriate plan. As such, he works intimately with clients and their advisors to create estate plans that enable families to plan for today as well as for future generations. Chris regularly prepares sophisticated estate plans, emphasizing probate avoidance, estate tax planning, and business succession...

616/336-6951
Laura E. Radle, estate planning attorney, Varnum
Partner

Laura is an attorney in the firm’s estate planning team where she helps individuals and families to identify their estate planning goals and to create a plan that is tailored to meet their specific needs. Laura’s practice includes a full range of estate planning and estate settlement services including the preparation of basic or complex estate plans, tax planning, business succession planning, cottage planning, charitable gift planning, and estate and trust administration services.

As a member of the Family Business Team, Laura assists business owners with the design and implementation of a succession plan that will facilitate the transfer of decision making authority and ownership interests in the event of an owner’s disability or death. Clients benefit from her regular access to colleagues in Varnum that serve the unique needs and challenges of family businesses, including the business and corporate services, labor and employment relations, family law, and litigation teams.Laura is an attorney in the firm’s estate planning team where she helps individuals and families to identify their estate planning goals and to create a plan that is tailored to meet their specific needs. Laura’s practice includes a full range of estate planning and estate settlement services including the preparation of basic or complex estate plans, tax planning, business succession planning, cottage planning, charitable gift planning, and estate and trust administration services.

616/336-6415