When you think of inherited property you'd like to receive one day, you may think of family land, a cherished heirloom, or a childhood home.
Chances are, a timeshare isn't too high on your list.
Yet, the reality is that timeshare purchases are on a steady upswing. In fact, the American Resort Development Association reports that sales for the timeshare industry have seen seven years of consistent growth, reaching 9.2 billion in 2016 .
As more Americans buy into this vacation investment, concern is mounting over the financial obligations their heirs will be saddled with and how easily they can get out of them.
Today, we're breaking down your options when it comes to handling your inherited timeshare. This way, you'll know just what to do in the event you're stuck dealing with one.
Ready to get started? Let's dive in!
Timeshare Inheritance 101
In some cases, a timeshare may hold sentimental family value.
After all, a timeshare is simply a rental program that allows a vacation "owner" the right to access a property for a specified time each year. That's plenty of time to rack up some cherished memories.
As such, many timeshare owners sign a contract when they begin that passes the property rights to their children upon their death. They may also choose to include the inheritance as part of their will.
If that's the case and you've received the timeshare, there may be a reason you want to hold onto it. Of course, you're granted that right.
Claiming your inheritance is often as simple as providing the timeshare company with a copy of the owner's death certificate . You'll also need to include details on how to contact and bill you going forward.
If you received the timeshare through a will, you'll be able to claim it through the same steps. This can occur once all the estate administration paperwork has passed the approval of the probate judge.
Yet, while some may see the value in taking on the ownership of a timeshare, for most, this is one type of inherited property that they see no issue in refusing.
The chief reason? It can carry significant financial obligations, such as ownership expenses and maintenance fees , that you as the heir didn't sign up for. If you don't foresee using the property regularly over the long-term, it often means more mess -- and more money -- than you want to deal with or spend.
If this is the case, and you're ready to legally refuse this inherited property, check out the next few paragraphs.
Legally Refuse Your Inherited Property
The good news is that you aren't legally required to accept your inherited timeshare.
To refuse it, you'll need to follow a few steps.
First, you should complete a Disclaimer of Interest form. In short, this document serves as your written intent to disclaim or refuse the inherited property. A real estate attorney can help you find and file this form.
After it's completed, you'll need to send the Disclaimer of Interest form, along with a copy of the original owner's death certificate, to the timeshare property.
The death certificate can be obtained from the executor of the estate.
It's important to include the death certificate, as this will stop the property from sending maintenance fee bills to the original owner's address.
As you begin the process, be sure you understand if the timeshare was a rental, or if it carried a mortgage. If it's the latter, you'll also need to send the bank a copy of the death certificate. Failing to do so could cause them to put the property into foreclosure if payments continue to drop.
While the process is straightforward enough, it's important to consider a few elements to make sure the paperwork is correctly processed and you're legally removed from your timeshare obligations:
File on Time
You'll have a set timeframe during which you can send in the Disclaimer of Interest and death certificate.
While this time may vary, most properties allow you up to nine months after the date of the original owner's death to get all the paperwork in. If you're a minor, that timeframe won't begin until you reach age 21.
Be Sure of Decision
Note that once your Disclaimer of Interest is received and filed, your decision cannot be undone. Moreover, you'll no longer have any say over what happens to the property, or who receives it next. This means you aren't able to gift it to someone you specifically choose, such as a favored relative or even a non-profit or charity organization.
So, before you file to refuse, consider if you or your family would ever benefit from the inherited property and if it's worth keeping. Then, make sure you're completely sure of the decision.
Let Others Know
If you're the first person in line to receive the inherited timeshare and you refuse it, it will typically pass to the next person in line. If that person also refuses it, he or she will be required to complete the same steps. So let your family members know of your intent as you file to reuse the timeshare, so they'll be ready to either accept it -- or file paperwork of their own.
Don't Use It
If you intend to forfeit the inheritance, keep in mind that you won't be able to access it at all for your own benefit after the original owner's death. Even if you visit it just once for a short period of time, you won't be able to refuse it in the future. This means you could be stuck with it until you will it to someone else upon your own death.
While brief, these steps serve as a high-level overview of the process you'll take as you seek to refuse your inherited property. A legal real estate expert will be able to provide you a more detailed view of the journey, customized to your specific circumstance.
Timeshare Exit Assistance: Simplifying the Process
If you've been bequeathed a timeshare that you'd like to refuse and would like assistance removing you from this responsibility, we'd love to help.
We're real estate experts dedicated to helping you navigate (and exit) the timeshare contract journey. We'll work with you throughout the process, offering a 100% money-back guarantee that we'll deliver the results you need.
Contact us today to get started and receive our free consultation. Let's take this important first step toward financial freedom together!