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How To Not Inherit Your Parents' Timeshare

In facing the grief of losing a parent, it's evident that ridding yourself of an unwanted, inherited timeshare will be the last thing that crosses your mind as the beneficiary. However, it's vital to address these unwanted inheritance "gifts" before your parents' death. If not, you may have to deal with the timeshare resort developer directly or go through the probate process. Needless to say, estate planning, including timeshares, should be addressed before the original owner's death.

There are a few ways to avoid directly inheriting such real estate from your parents if you don't plan to use it. You might also have options as an heir to get rid of their timeshare if it's already passed down to you.

What are Timeshares?

Suppose you're still not familiar with what precisely a timeshare is (which is perfectly understandable given the nature of the timeshare industry). In that case, a brief explanation is this: a timeshare is a split-owner, "right to use" vacation property ownership that is managed and outright owned by a resort or a property management company. 

It is utilized annually (usually per week) between owners who buy into the ownership option. These fees are charged monthly in the form of a "mortgage," but additional costs, known as timeshare maintenance fees, are assessed annually to each unit owner. These charges may not cover other costs, such as in the event of a natural disaster or another "unforeseen" event.

Your Parents' Timeshare Agreement Should Not Include the Children's Names

Your parents or loved ones should not have anyone else besides themselves on the timeshare title as the timeshare deed holder. Frequently, timeshare specialists might attempt to persuade owners to include their heirs in the real estate documentation. However, owners must keep in mind how such a quick decision could have long-term consequences for an entire family.

Putting the children's names on the timeshare disclaimer document could force them into being beneficiaries. They'd then be held responsible for the ongoing costs upon their parent's death, such as annual maintenance fees, owed interest on the timeshare mortgage loan, and other associated timeshare fees that they likely didn't ask for. If they remain uninterested in using the timeshare and fail to pay, they risk credit damage to themselves.

An owner should also pay from their own bank account or credit card. As heirs, you shouldn't give the timeshare resort company any of your bank account information, as this could be an additional avenue used to collect payment by the timeshare company.

You Can Refuse Your Timeshare Inheritance as a Beneficiary

You have a few options when trying to get rid of a deeded timeshare property assigned to you as the beneficiary. As the heir of the estate, you hold the right of refusal when it comes to inheriting property after death. A timeshare ownership inheritance is no different and you can outright refuse it with the help of an estate planning attorney. 

Like handling any other estate asset, it's best to put everything in writing. Depending on the type of timeshare (usually a "right to use" timeshare), you will send a written letter of renunciation to the appointed executor of the estate or legal counsel, along with the timeshare resort company. You must send the letter within a specific time frame after the owner's death (dependent on your state's particular laws), and will likely need to include a copy of their death certificate as well.

That should fully absolve the beneficiary of any responsibilities with the vacation ownership. Consult with a qualified estate attorney in your area for the proper way to handle an unused timeshare inheritance.

Living Parents Still Have Time to Terminate Their Timeshare Agreement Before It Passes to Children

Although there is no official process, unhappy timeshare owners still have a few exit options if they wish to exercise them before death. We're not talking about making an income off of timeshare rentals either. To prevent an inheritance, you'll want to ensure the agreement is completely terminated.

If an owner has paid off their property mortgage and annual upkeep costs, then they may have an opportunity to sell the timeshare back to the original resort company. Yet, don't get your hopes up yet. Resort companies can be real sticklers sometimes when it comes to helping their own clientele. The timeshare developer may even charge you additional fees to end your agreement with them.

Owners also have a chance to resell through a third-party site online, however, the resale rate there isn't pretty. It is important to note that this option is risky, as many "resale" companies are scams. Watch out for unsolicited phone calls claiming they can make a quick sale on your timeshare. They'll ask for upfront closing costs to complete the sale before then disappearing with your money.

Timeshare exit companies may be the best option for a person whose resort developer is unwilling to help. These companies work directly with you, the timeshare owner, in coordinating a cancellation agreement with the developer. It's essential to do your research if you choose this route, as not all timeshare exit companies are the same, nor do they have similar approaches and success rates. 

Summary

While a timeshare may have brought the parents memorable family vacations, that doesn't mean it will do the same for their children. It could in fact become a huge burden for them to carry on their shoulders as a result. Although timeshare agreements can be binding, there are ways to ensure that they're not passed down through proper estate planning and open communication between parents and children.

If you feel that your parents are planning to designate you or your siblings as heirs to timeshares, it's best to express your concerns or raise any questions about timeshares you may have with them before their death. The inheritance of unwanted timeshares will undoubtedly be problematic once you deal with it firsthand.

Wesley Financial Group, LLC and/or its affiliates, successors, or assigns are not lawyers and/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 only and are not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.

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