Must You Accept Responsibility for a Timeshare When a Family Member Dies?

Must You Accept Responsibility for a Timeshare When a Family Member Dies?

This topic arises as a buyer benefit to pass onto family or its cast negatively by companies claiming loved ones will be financially burdened by something they don’t want.  Usually there is a BIG price tag to “help you” out.

The publisher of TimeSharing Today Magazine, Shep Altshuler addressed this topic in a recent article, “The Big Lie”.

“A person who would inherit a timeshare (or anything else) has the right to “disclaim,” or refuse, the bequest by a writing filed with the appropriate Surrogate or Probate Court, usually within a specified time limit of eight or nine months, depending on the state where the decedent died. This right to disclaim applies whether the timeshare is bequeathed by a Will or goes to the heir though intestate succession when there is no Will.

The timeshare would then pass to the person who would have inherited the timeshare if the initial heir had died without children.  That person can also disclaim.  Eventually, the Executor or Administrator of the estate would need to arrange with the resort to take back the week or it would be abandoned (which is not a good result for the resort.)”

Ultimately, nobody’s stuck, but what hassle and expense, which is not worth it since properties are being given away on the resale market.  It is in everyone’s best interest to address the matter now to avoid delay in closing your estate, costly legal expenses or risk having your heirs named in a foreclosure.   Naming heirs in a lawsuit is designed to be a good thing allowing them the opportunity to obtain ownership by bringing the account current.  It’s bad when they don’t want it.

What can you do now?  Talk to your heirs and see if they want the property.  If so, check what laws govern ownership in the state where the property is located, not where you live, because state laws govern real estate ownership.  Some states allow use of personal representatives of the estate to sign over a deed to whomever you have bequeathed the property; others do not.  Some states allow the use of a Beneficiary Deed or Transfer on Death deed where you deed the property now and upon your death, it transfers to the person you designated within the deed; others do not.  You could also add your heir to the deed, if they are 18 or over, by taking title with them as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship.  With this type of ownership, when one party dies, the remaining owners take over the deceased parties share without probate expense.  Other options to explore would be making use of a family trust or corporate entity.

Thus far, deeded timeshare ownership has been discussed.  Vacation Club or Points Ownerships differ in that you don’t own the real estate.  You only have permission to use what is owned by a Trust.  Members don’t have to be concerned about real estate transfer laws.  Check the rules of your Club.  Usually membership ends with death, although money owed can be claimed against the estate.  Sometimes provision is made for heirs to use up points that have already been paid for.  Be sure to get your answers in writing and file the information with your will.

Timeshare Oasis can help you by listing the property, transferring to a friend or family member who wants it, or facilitating a deed back or cancellation now, so it’s not cumbersome later.  Submit a listing form from our website and get a free quote for the best disposal options for your property.

Dawn                 * This article is for general information purposes only. ALWAYS seek legal advice for estate matters.


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