Cottage Succession Planning

FOCA and estate lawyer Peter Lillico have been teaching families about cottage succession planning for the past decade.

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On April 16, 2024, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a 2024 federal budget including an announcement that the capital gains tax on amounts over $250,000 will rise on or after June 25, 2024. This will negatively impact many FOCA members who sell or transfer ownership of their cottages to the next generation. FOCA has sent a letter to the government in opposition to this development; read the letter and related media coverage on our Taxation webpage

Start your own plan to keep the cottage in the family. Learn what you need to do NOW, to protect the family cottage for the future.

Register to join us at an upcoming event:

  • February 13/24 – DONE – a “deep dive” into Targeting Tax.
  • April 17/24 – DONE – a “deep dive” into Cottage Sharing Agreements (CSAs): advantages & obstacles.
  • June 5/24 – DONE – a “deep dive” into capital gains Tax Strategies, with updated information about the proposed tax change. 
  • Wednesday, October 9, 2024 from 7-8:30pm by Zoom webinar: Seize the Time or Bide your Time? Register here. Join us for a “deep dive” into timing tips for your family’s succession plan; should you transfer the cottage now, later, gradually or upon death?  NOTE: this talk has some overlap in material presented in the “Targeting Tax” and Trust the Cottage” sessions. 

Ensure you are subscribed to receive the FOCA Elert (e-newsletter) for all our event updates. In the meantime, you can still purchase access to digital recordings of Peter’s talks.


These events are FREE to members of our Member Associations, and our “Friends of FOCA” (paid annual supporters). * Others can still attend by paying the $30 non-member fee per registrant, per event. Or, join now as a Friend of FOCA to receive free access to all the cottage succession events over the coming year, plus additional supporter benefits. Each 1.5 hour session with the estate lawyer – whether in person or virtual – includes valuable information about parts of the cottage succession process. You will receive the SLIDES but not the event recording, so please plan to be present during the event time. Here are some of the topics in the series:
  1. COTTAGE SUCCESSION A to Z (this is the recommended introductory/overview session– previously called Keeping the ‘Family’ in the Family Cottage) – Cottage succession planning intro, with an overview of  the legal, tax, and family issues that will need to be addressed.
  2. AGREEMENTS AVOID ADVERSITY – Why a Cottage Sharing Agreement is the crucial first foundation for shared future family cottage ownership; what protections and provisions they must include; and how best to develop one for your family.
  3. TAX STRATEGIES – How capital gains tax works; how to avoid it; techniques to reduce or defer it; planning approaches to fund it. THIS IS AN UPDATED SEMINAR WITH INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED CHANGE TO CAPITAL GAINS TAX (June 2024).
  4. TRUSTING THE COTTAGE – How a combination of trust techniques can combine to: retain control of the cottage by the parents for their lifetimes; ensure that the cottage passes to their children after their death without probate tax; provide protections for the cottage against children’s creditors or divorcing spouses. Peter’s advice on trusts was referred to by Penny Caldwell in the early summer 2018 Cottage Life Magazine as “sweet and innovative.”
  5. COTTAGES AT THE CROSSROADS: Choosing the Path – This session assumes the cottagers want to keep the cottage in the family and explains the pros and cons of different succession vehicles: Direct personal ownership by children; corporate ownership; or trust ownership.
  6. SEIZE THE TIME OR BIDE YOUR TIME? Should the changeover be sooner (during the parents’ lifetime, while they are able to be involved in the transition) or later (on death, through their Wills)? Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  7. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS – Thinking about passing on the cottage to your children? The critical questions are: Which kids to include? How to help the kids share ownership? How to protect the kids and the cottage against creditor or divorce claims and capital gains tax? Successful choices will result in the cottage remaining a source of joy for future generations, but a wrong call can result in the cottage becoming an ongoing bone of contention or being sold. This presentation will provide the information you need to make the best decisions to leave your family a lasting cottage legacy.
"Very useful, helpful and timely info for me. Peter is top notch and extremely knowledgeable!"
~Cottage Succession attendee
October 2023

FOCA’s Cottage Succession Seminar events (in-person or by webinar) are free to FOCA Members & Friends of FOCA (our annual supporters). The event slides are shared with registrants, but not the recordings; access to digital recordings of Peter’s talks can be purchased separately:

Purchase Digital Recordings:

You can purchase access to digital recordings of some of Peter Lillico’s cottage succession talks, so you can review them with your family at your leisure:

Title #1 – Cottage Succession Planning “A” to “Z”  – this is the recommended introductory session that provides an overview of considerations for starting your cottage succession plan (recorded 2021)

Title #2 – Cottage Sharing Agreements – an in-depth look at considerations for creating the Cottage Sharing Agreement, one important step in your cottage succession process (recorded 2016)

Title #3 – Targeting Tax – an in-depth session explaining capital gains tax, and tips to reduce or defer it (recorded 2020)

Title #4 – Trusting the Cottage – an in-depth look at trust techniques (recorded in 2021)

Title #5Seize the Day or Bide your Time? – an in-depth look at choosing when to transfer the cottage to the kids (recorded in 2023)

Pricing: $40 each (+ HST)

Bulk Discounts: buy 2 for $5 off; buy 3 for $20 off; buy 4 for $30 off; buy 5 for $40 off

IMPORTANT: capital gains tax changes announced in April 2024 will change the taxation information outlined in our past Cottage Succession seminar recordings. Most of the information remains appropriate, but tax illustrations are now less accurate. ANY TAX DECISIONS MADE SHOULD ALWAYS BE AFTER CONSULTATON WITH YOUR PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS TO ENSURE YOU ARE ACTING UPON CURRENT INFORMATION. Stay tuned for updates from FOCA.

After online payment, you will receive an email with the online link(s) to view the digital video recording(s) as many times as you wish, and you may share the link(s) with your family members.

NOTE: Internet is required to view the video postings.

Please note: the following is archival material, and some links to third-party resources may no longer be active.

January 2023 – “Cottage Concerns” – a three-part series by Peter Lillico about succession planning (Peterborough Examiner) – Part 1: Sprinkling Cottage Trusts; Part 2: Cottage Sharing Agreements; Part 3: Prenuptual Agreements

June 3, 2021 – Peter Lillico quoted in: The perils of passing down the family cottage (Globe & Mail)

August 22, 2020 –Navigating the often rough waters of cottage ownership (Peterborough This Week)

Peter Lillico is quoted in this article about “What happens to our joint-owned cottage after we pass?” from Cottage Life.

June 2018 – Peter Lillico is quoted in this article: “What to know about owning a cottage with friends or family,” Times Colonist.

Peter is also the backbone of this article: “How to hand down your cottage while keeping the peace and saving money,” Cottage Life, by Penny Caldwell.

4 different ways families approached cottage succession,” Cottage Life, by Penny Caldwell.

Sept.2015 – Read this article about FOCA’s Cottage Succession Seminar series with estate lawyer Peter Lillico (source: My Kawartha)