The ramifications of owning a timeshare extend long beyond a buyer’s decision to sign on the dotted line with implications affecting their estate and loved ones even after his or her death. For many, this comes as a surprise. They believe contract obligations for timeshare ownership must expire upon a buyer’s death with the management company simply reabsorbing the property into its inventory and reselling it to the next person in line. Unfortunately, timeshares don’t work like this in reality. Timeshares are sold via contracts, most with terms lasting up to 99 years. These “timeshare contracts in perpetuity” legally require a buyer (or his or her estate upon death) to continue paying homeowner’s and maintenance fees for the length of the contract terms. And unless a buyer is in really good health, it’s unlikely he or she will ever live long enough to enjoy the timeshare for the actual amount of time he or she is obligated to pay for it. So what happens when a timeshare owner dies? Here’s a brief look at the issues surrounding inherited timeshare:
Dying does not release a buyer from any of the fees associated with a timeshare. The timeshare management company will still expect to be paid its monthly dues and can demand payment from the owner’s estate within a few months of the original owner’s death. If an outstanding balance persists, the management company can file legal proceedings against the owner’s estate to recover not only the amount it’s owed, but also the amount it should be paid to cover the fees for the remaining years under the contract terms.
If an owner has designated his or her children (or anyone else) as beneficiaries of a timeshare, it can be a headache for them to legally untangle themselves from it. However, it is possible. Beneficiaries are never required to accept an asset as bequeathed in a will. They can refuse it, and it will pass to the next of kin until it is either finally accepted or ultimately refused by everyone, in which case the management company can attempt to foreclose on the property. Assuming they’ve followed proper legal procedures for declining the timeshare, the credit of any next of kin will not be affected by foreclosure proceedings. But while their finances might not be affected, their time and patience likely will be, compounding their loss with troublesome paperwork and further emotional distress.
In order to save an owner’s estate and his or her beneficiaries the burden of unwanted inherited timeshare ownership, there are options. There are many ways to stop timeshare fees and get rid of timeshare ownership legally. Our team at Step Zero can help you cancel your timeshare before it unintentionally becomes a burden for someone you love. Contact us for a free consultation.