Realistically, it’s pretty probable that your timeshare is going to outlive you. So at some point, you are going to have to think about passing it on to your friends or family. It’s an unfortunate truth that when someone dies, it may be an unnecessary and unwanted expense for the person who inherits the timeshare. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to meet with an estate planning attorney so they can help you organize the paperwork and efficiently complete whatever method you choose to use when passing on your timeshare to your heirs or beneficiaries.
How To Pass On A Timeshare
After a lot of research on the topic and consulting legalzoom.com, I found that there are actually multiple ways that a timeshare can be transferred to whomever you want: under a living trust, a will, with joint ownership, and through a probate.
A living trust is a legal document that is created during someone’s lifetime. The creator of the trust is the one who decides who gets the property. It is very important that the timeshare owner transfer the timeshare interest into the trust. If the timeshare is held by a lease or contract, the owner has to list the timeshare as part of the trust property.
A timeshare can also be passed on by a will. A will is similar to a trust, as it is a legal document that is made during someone’s lifetime and it will go into effect upon their death. The person who owns the will doesn’t need to sign a deed or an Assignment of Ownership Interest form. The only thing needed for a will is the proper language that will clearly delegate who will take over the responsibilities of the timeshare upon the previous owner’s death.
Having a joint ownership is where multiple owners own an undivided equal interest in the whole property. It means that immediately after one owner’s death, the surviving owner is automatically next in line and will continue to own the timeshare. It is also very important to note that there could be serious tax consequences involved with changing ownership to add to the heirs. A timeshare owner who is considering this option should first consult with tax professionals to make sure everything is handled legally and efficiently.
Additionally, the timeshare can be passed down to the heirs through a probate without establishing a will, trust, or a joint ownership arraignment. However, there are a lot of disadvantages to this option. The probate route could take months or years to complete. The process has to go through the courts, and they are very strict about completing the process before passing the timeshare on to anyone. Since this process can get a bit pricey with all of the fees involved, they will even take the money out of the deceased’s person’s account before transferring the ownership to anyone else. And finally, even after the entire process is done, the courts may go against the deceased owner’s wishes and pass down the timeshare to someone just based on who is next in line according to state law.
If your timeshare has a special and significant meaning to your family, there will need to be specific financial planning and support that will need to take place. If no one after the owners wants the timeshare left to them, then it technically can be willed to the timeshare association. However, if that is not an option, the absolute last resort may be to consider just abandoning the timeshare all together.
When you invest in a timeshare, it is important to think ahead. Even though you may think that you are doing a great thing by leaving your timeshare to someone who will enjoy it as much as you, it could actually become a burden on them.
And last but not least, you can always go the donate timeshare route and give your timeshare to charity. There are many charities that will accept your donatable timeshare such as the American Kidney Fund and the United Cerebral Palsy organization.