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Are Heirs Responsible for Timeshares?

If your parents are timeshare owners, you wonder how that can affect you. Are timeshares passed down to the owner’s children? Could you be forced into timeshare ownership? People want to know what happens to a timeshare property when the owner dies.

Depending on the recipient, a timeshare inheritance could be a gift or a curse. Continue reading to better understand the intricate process of inheriting a timeshare and whether or not it should concern you. If you’re already looking to prevent the inheritance of a timeshare vacation property, this guide will also provide you with those necessary steps.

How a Timeshare Works

Timeshare companies offer something unique in the travel industry–vacation ownership at a fraction of the cost, so they say at least. With vacation homes and condos being so expensive, timeshares instead allow you to purchase weekly access to a vacation resort once every year. Timeshare properties operate under a fractional ownership model where each unit has many owners splitting the costs and time spent at that property. Everyone gets a slice of vacation!

When it comes to the costs of timeshares, there's an upfront fee and an annual maintenance fee. Timeshares' initial costs can reach tens of thousands and often require a mortgage loan. On top of that, timeshare maintenance fees continue for as long as the ownership does. Alas, that may be longer than many suppose.

How Inheriting a Timeshare Works

It’s common for timeshare agreements to include a perpetuity clause. That means the ownership could be a lifetime commitment. Upon the owner's death, the timeshare becomes a part of their estate unless there is another surviving owner. Next, the lawful process of distributing such an asset, often through an estate planning attorney, takes place to establish a new owner of the timeshare.

The bequeathing process can be long and strenuous. Nonetheless, the timeshare property developers might enforce their annual maintenance fees and other additional costs until it is inherited. Once the timeshare is in the estate plan, it gets passed on to the designated beneficiary or next-of-kin. Yet, most estate heirs would want nothing to do with that timeshare title, right?

How Heirs Can Avoid a Timeshare Inheritance

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Unwanted timeshares are nothing new for heirs of timeshare owners. Fortunately, you have the right to refuse an inherited timeshare. However, you'll need to act quickly on the matter following their death. State laws vary, but often, you have to submit a refusal no later than nine months after inheriting the property. There are exceptions for minors, who have nine months to refuse after turning 21. Be sure to consult with an estate attorney as to the best way to refuse an unwanted inheritance.

We put together a brief guide below on avoiding inheriting a parent's timeshare. Follow these three steps to ensure not to get burdened with a loved one’s timeshare and its ongoing fees. 

1. Don’t Use the Timeshare, but Pay the Company for Now

If you decide not to inherit a timeshare, the number one rule is not to use it. Still, even if it’s an unwanted timeshare, you may need to take on financial responsibility temporarily. That ensures unpaid fees don't add up, and the timeshare resort developer won't take action against your parents' estate before your refusal is filed.

2. Declare Your Renunciation of the Timeshare Property

Next, you need to write a refusal, known as a disclaimer of interest. This document should include three details: a description of the property, a clear statement of your renunciation of the property, and, last, your name and signature. Make a few copies of the document to send to the property management companies and the executor of the estate assets. (Note: Use certified mail to confirm delivery.)

3. File Your Timeshare Renunciation in Probate Court

The last step in refusing an inherited timeshare is to file in court. Visit the county probate court handling your parent's estate and file a copy of your written renunciation there as an official record. After filing, you may want to inform who's next in line as the estate’s designated beneficiary as they may have to perform the same process if they don't want to inherit a timeshare.

How Timeshare Owners Can Prevent a Timeshare Inheritance

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Timeshare owners who know their children have no desire to inherit a timeshare can act today to prevent it. There are several measures to make for an uncomplicated inheritance process. Why not plan ahead? 

By following the three steps below, you may prevent your heirs from timeshare worries when you pass. Be sure to consult with an estate attorney as to the best way to prevent an unwanted inheritance.

1. Examine the Timeshare Agreements Paperwork

First, take a close look at the original, signed timeshare agreement. Understand what it is that you purchased and the long-term effects it has on you and your heirs. Did you buy a right-to-use timeshare, often a leased deal, or buy a deeded timeshare that includes a perpetuity clause? Also, keep in mind the terms and conditions not to breach the agreement when attempting to prevent inheritance. 

2. Do Not List Your Children’s Names on the Deed

If your children insist they don't want to inherit the timeshare property, keep their names off the timeshare deed. As long as they're not listed as the designated beneficiary, denying the inheritance should be simple. Parents who fell for the initial sales pitch and already listed their kids' on the deed can still ask the timeshare company to remove their names. 

3. Consider Canceling the Timeshare Beforehand

Maybe you not only want to prevent timeshare ownership for your heirs but also want to get rid of a timeshare? If that's the case, you have a few options. Many owners attempt to sell it back to the property developers or resell it to another buyer. Alas, neither option has proven a consistent option. Still, a new option has shaken up the timeshare industry.

Timeshare cancellation companies! Hiring a company like Wesley Financial Group, LLC* could benefit timeshare owners who were misled into their initial purchase and now wish to cancel it. 

Final Thoughts

As an heir to a timeshare owner, there is a good chance of you becoming responsible for their timeshare fees when they pass away. To avoid risking those financial decisions falling onto your shoulders, deny the inheritance as soon as the moment arises or take action today to prevent the issue altogether. 

Consulting with a timeshare cancellation company could go a long way, not only for you but also for your children. Wesley Financial Group, LLC* is a leading pioneer of timeshare cancellation and has already helped tens of thousands of owners and their loved ones break free from nearly $300,000,000 in timeshare debt. Schedule a free consultation with Wesley today!

*Wesley Financial Group, LLC, and its affiliates, successors, or assigns are not lawyers or a law firm and do not engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, services, and comments provided on this site are for informational and self-help purposes and not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.

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