If you own a timeshare, you may be considering leaving it to one or more of your children. Whether it’s been the destination for family vacations over the years or it’s something you and your spouse bought when you retired, you may want your kids to continue to enjoy it after you’re gone. However, that particular inheritance may end up being more trouble and expense than you (or they) ever imagined.
First, the heirs who inherit the timeshare will also inherit the maintenance fees associated with it. As properties age, those fees typically increase while their value decreases. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that whomever you’re considering bequeathing the timeshare to wants it and can afford it. If they become delinquent in their payments, they’ll end up with late fees and the resort may foreclose on the property. Any debt owed on the timeshare may even be taken out of the estate.
You can avoid having the timeshare go through probate by placing it in a revocable trust, as many people do with their homes. Another option is to add whichever child(ren) you plan on leaving it to as co-owners so that it will automatically go to them, and won’t have to go through probate. Again, make sure that they want it and can afford it before you do that.
If the loved one to whom you’ve left the timeshare changes their mind after you’re gone and decides they don’t want it (or perhaps you never got around to telling them about it), they can decline it. Usually, they need to submit a disclaimer within a specified period to the court declining the timeshare. It would then go to the next beneficiary on the list.
If none of your loved ones wants your timeshare and you rarely use it, it may be wise to sell it. This isn’t always an easy task. Timeshare agreements are often designed to be difficult to escape. However, your attorney can review the contract to determine if there are any legal ways out.
You may lose some money, but you’ll be saving your loved ones the headache of having to deal with the property. If you choose to keep the timeshare in your family, your attorney can help you determine how best to include it in your estate plan.