Posted on March 09, 2023
While we at Timeshare Broker Associates are not lawyers, and this should in no way be considered as legal advice, we do have people approach us asking “what happens if I inherit a timeshare?” In this post, we’ll take a look at the issue of inheriting a timeshare for purely discretionary purposes.
Inheriting a timeshare can be one of those aspects of settling an estate that introduces some confusion and questions during an emotional time for the family. Most people who inherit a timeshare don’t necessarily understand, or even want, to take it over.
A beneficiary inheriting a timeshare becomes the legal owner of the timeshare. Following the requisite legal process, usually through managing the estate after a loved one passes on, the heir would take over ownership of the timeshare. They would receive documentation from the resort or timeshare company, giving them the benefits of ownership provided to the previous owner.
With the benefits also comes the obligations such as paying the annual maintenance fees or continuing to pay off any associated loans attached to the timeshare ownership. In many cases, the timeshare would already be paid off, so having accommodations for an annual vacation for the cost of the maintenance fees can be a good deal.
However, what happens if you don’t want to inherit a timeshare?
For timeshare owners, forward planning is essential so the heirs are not left to navigate through what could be a maze of red tape regarding the ownership. Inheritance laws vary from state to state, so deciding in writing what to do with the timeshare before the owner passes is an important way to clarify intent and potentially keep it out of the hassles of probate.
Choosing to sell a timeshare is one important option where owners can take the decision out of the hands of their heirs. Selling allows timeshare owners to relinquish the ownership responsibly and make some money in the process.
Depending on how the estate is structured, an heir may have to inherit a timeshare if it is not specifically identified in the instructions. If the instructions basically lump all assets together in generic legal terms, the inheritance could be all inclusive with specific items needing to be dealt with after the fact through probate.
Options such as placing the ownership in trust or placing the beneficiary onto the deed as a joint tenant could avoid probate and make navigating the ownership easier, but remember that the beneficiary is then responsible for the fees and costs associated with timeshare ownership.
You can refuse to inherit a timeshare, but you should obtain legal advice depending on your state inheritance laws. The process is essentially called renunciation of property and the overall concept is basically the same in each state, but the specifics can vary.
A few things to consider if you want to reject the timeshare:
Do not use it. This also extends to renting out the timeshare, since you could give up your right of refusal if you subsequently claim ownership by interacting with it.
Act quickly. These types of issues usually have a time limit imposed, so find out when you need to make a decision and don’t procrastinate.
Put your refusal in writing. You will need to have a document created that contains the specifics of the timeshare or points owned, your declaration of your refusal, and your name and signature. This document should be filed with the requisite authorities or the court in the case of probate. This way your intentions are clearly stated that you refuse to inherit a timeshare.
Remember that there are different versions of timeshare ownership. Deeded timeshare ownership operates similarly to real estate ownership in the eyes of the courts, while pure points ownership is a right-to-use model mainly handled through a trust arrangement. This is an important distinction since there is often more leeway in working with a timeshare company to relinquish ownership in the trust model than in the deeded model.
In either case, non-payment should not be an option. If a timeshare is accepted by a beneficiary, they become the legal owners and take on any obligations such as annual maintenance fee payments. The fees will need to be kept up to date, even if the beneficiary wants to sell the timeshare.
If any outstanding fees are not paid, the resort or timeshare company can begin foreclosure on a timeshare inheritance to try and get the fees paid, either by the beneficiary or through the estate. This scenario demonstrates why it is important to file the renunciation of property document, to possibly avoid any ramifications as the new owner.
When wondering “what happens if I inherit a timeshare?”, a designated beneficiary may want to discuss selling a timeshare with the current owner if they do not want to eventually take over ownership.
Issues regarding wills and estates can crop up unexpectedly, so it is always best to plan ahead. In the case of timeshare, if it is possible, the owner and the heir should go over options now and talk about selling the timeshare before it hits probate – especially if the timeshare is not currently being used.
Even if the timeshare passes on to the heir, the timeshare can then be sold but the ownership would first pass through the estate process and the heir legally designated as the new owner. This transfer should be confirmed by the timeshare resort or management company through a deed or trust certificate naming the heir as the owner.
The process to sell a timeshare can be relatively simple if you use a licensed timeshare resale broker, since brokers and their agents do not take upfront fees to list a timeshare for sale. Resale brokers operate like real estate agents, marketing the timeshare, finding buyers, negotiating the deal, handling the paperwork, and working with the closing company. Payment takes place after the sale is closed.
Why not put the timeshare up for sale and make some money on it instead of going through all the hassle and cost of planning to refuse to inherit a timeshare? You can call us at 877-624-6889 or click onto our Contact Us page and send us your questions so we can help you work through the process of managing or selling your timeshare.
Navigate your timeshare inheritance with timeshare resale experts at Timeshare Broker Associates.