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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 112762
Experience:  Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
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I have been offered a share of a deer camp in Michigan. A

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I have been offered a share of a deer camp in Michigan. A handful of "owners" all have equal shares in the camp although not all shares are purchased for the same price and sometimes the shares are passed down through inheritance etc.There are a few hundred acres at the camp. The camp has an older house on it. Well water. Small pond on the property. Other buildings include a garage for ATVs. There are some bylaws that are minimal and some camp "rules" but I am not sure if the "rules" are truly enforceable.Each owner can bring one guest and the guest can only hunt on the property if one of the owners is present to provide, essentially, supervision. The camp is open year-round but is hunted on mostly during deer season. But people can and do hunt other seasons to include for turkey, rabbit, etc.Owners can hunt in any other owner's deer stand on the property with the permission of the stand owner, whether the stand owner is present at the site (if the owner has multiple stands) or if not on site. (They find out who will or will not be there in advance.) The property is adjacent to a home and a farm, and at least during deer season, people hunt on those other properties.The group has some sort of insurance property for the camp - obviously there is some potential concern for a guest being hurt in some way, etc. Before placement, any new stands must be approved by a stand committee. This is intended to be sure, in part, that placement of the stand would not result in gunshots from one stand being directed toward another or where people can reasonably be expected to walk. Deer hunting is ONLY permitted in elevated stands. From what I've seen they are of reasonable construction but some are in better shape than others. I do not know the language or the exact nature of the insurance policy. I am told that it is suggested that each owner take out a personal policy on top of the camp policy.The person from whom I may purchase my "share" from, is planning to sell to me for a share price plus closing fees or taxes. This sale is not being planned through a Realtor etc. Also, he is investigating if he can accomplish the sale through a quit claim deed.What are some share-purchasing considerations that I should keep in mind? What might my liabilities be? What should I ensure? Do all owners have equal liability regardless of when they joined and so on? (I am not aware of any historical practices that would have created any environmental liabilities but am not aware of any Phase I type study etc.)Also - it is possible that the members of the camp may sell the camp at some point if there are too many personality conflicts, lack of interest, disagreements regarding how to best set and use money from annual dues, property management, etc. In the event that the group may want to sell the camp in a few years.... will all members have equal rights to the profits?Thank you.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
First things first, you need to go to see how the land is titled in the property records at the clerk's office. If this person who is selling you his share is not named on the deed, then all he is selling you is a right to use the land and no interest in ownership of the land.
A quit claim deed means nothing, it only transfers whatever rights the person transferring to you may or may not have. This means if they have no rights in the land they transfer you nothing.
You need to see the deed first. Additionally, if they have a member's agreement between all of the members you need to see that and read it. Any money/dues etc would be in that agreement. If they do not have one, you need to set one up and all of you together need to do so.
As far as sale, presuming you would be on the deed as an owner, all owners would have to sign off to sell the property. However, each owner can sell their respective shares if the deed allows.
If you are an owner, you become jointly and severally liable for debts of the property, including taxes or any lawsuits. This means they could pursue you for the debts alone or together with all of the other members and you could end up liable paying the full amount and then having to sue the other owners to get reimbursement.
Typically, this is why such a club puts the land either into an irrevocable trust or into an LLC, to avoid personal liability on the members. This is something they can do through a local attorney.
You need to do much more investigation into this camp. The rules and bylaws set up, once you agree to them, are fully enforceable and as such you could be held to each one of those rules once you agree as you could be held to any other contract.

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