Answering Your Biggest Questions About Inherited Timeshares

Inherited timeshare: 2 people holding a miniature house

While unpleasant to think about, end-of-life planning is a crucial part of securing the future success of your loved ones. A significant element of this process is considering all the assets that will be passed on to them. This is particularly crucial for potentially complex assets like inherited timeshares, demanding careful consideration to prevent them from becoming a burden to your loved ones.


When a timeshare owner passes away, their timeshare interest usually transfers to their next of kin. However, if the person inheriting the timeshare chooses not to keep it, failing to take the appropriate actions can lead to financial and emotional distress. 


So whether you’re looking to avoid burdening someone with a timeshare or seeking ways to escape inheriting one yourself, we’ll cover some crucial information about inherited timeshares. Alternatively, if you want to exit your timeshare before you pass so your heirs do not have to deal with it, we’ll explain how Centerstone Group can help.


What You Should Know About Inherited Timeshares

First off, let’s talk about what happens to a timeshare after its owner’s death. Just like any other possession, such as real estate or cars, the timeshare becomes part of the owner’s estate assets.


Ideally, the original owner would have specified who gets the timeshare in their estate plan, if they made one. If there wasn’t a plan in place, then it’s likely that the decision of who inherits the timeshare was either made at the time of purchase or outlined in the timeshare contract itself.


At this point, issues start to arise for individuals who: 


  1. Didn’t set up an estate plan before they passed away. 
  2. Chose someone to inherit their timeshare but didn’t communicate this decision with the intended new owner.
  3. Weren’t fully aware of what they were agreeing to when they signed the contract at their timeshare resort.


If you’ve ever tried to get out of a timeshare, you probably know that the latter is one of the biggest issues when it comes to timeshare ownership. Most timeshare companies rush buyers into signing contracts without allowing them to fully understand the terms. 


One of the terms featured in the timeshare agreement is the “Perpetuity Clause.” This clause means that you own the timeshare for life, and when you pass away, it becomes part of your estate. Whoever you’ve named as your beneficiary would then inherit the responsibility of paying your timeshare fees.


When deciding who to pass your inherited timeshare on to, it’s important to consider whether this inheritance might burden them. So to assist both you and your future heirs in making well-informed decisions, here are some key things to think about when it comes to passing on ownership of the timeshare.


Do You Actually Want to Pass on Your Timeshare?

Old man wearing a pair of eyeglasses

If your vacation property hasn’t become a key part of family trips that potential heirs are enthusiastic about taking over, chances are they might not be keen on the financial responsibilities that come with timeshares. After all, dealing with the impact of inflation on rising annual maintenance fees and unexpected special assessment costs can be a major hassle. This is particularly true when you think about the lifelong commitment this means for your beneficiary.


Why else might you reconsider leaving someone with an inherited timeshare? Because they are notoriously hard to sell. There are just too many of them out there, they don’t hold their value well, and there are already so many people trying to get rid of their timeshare on the resale market


More often than not, your beneficiaries will be burdened with the challenging task of pursuing a timeshare exit—a process that is never profitable and nearly impossible without professional help.


How Can You Refuse an Inherited Timeshare?

Whether you’ve unexpectedly inherited your parents’ timeshare or your late spouse has left the property in your name, what steps should you take when you’re stuck with an unwanted timeshare


The good news is that you’re not legally obligated to accept any inheritance, including a timeshare. Just like any other item bequeathed in a will, you have the option to decline. However, there are specific steps you need to follow to ensure that the deeded timeshare is effectively removed from your responsibilities:


  1. Move quickly by understanding the time frame you have to decline the timeshare property once the person leaving it to you has passed away. Generally, you have about nine months from either the date of death or when you first learn of the inheritance (whichever comes later) to reject the timeshare officially. Keep in mind, though, that this time frame can vary, so it’s essential to verify the specific time allowed in your state for such actions.
  2. Create a renunciation document. On this document, you must include a description of the timeshare property, a formal statement declaring your renunciation of the inheritance, and your name and signature. This is to be sent to the timeshare company and the executor of the estate—the person who manages the deceased’s assets.
  3. If you were given the timeshare in a will and the estate is currently in the probate process, you will need to submit a disclaimer of interest to the probate court. This is the group responsible for overseeing the transfer of the timeshare to its rightful heirs. Taking these actions will officially state your decision to decline the timeshare inheritance and provide a formal record of your pronouncement.


Ensure you retain multiple copies of your renunciation document and disclaimer of interest. The unpredictability of future legal challenges necessitates this caution, especially in the context of relinquishing timeshare ownership. It’s not uncommon for timeshare companies to question or undermine the efforts of those attempting to disengage from ownership. Having sufficient documentation safeguards your interests, providing clear evidence of the steps you’ve taken to exit timeshare ownership.


Bear in mind that handling timeshares in probate can be intricate and expensive, given their ongoing maintenance fees, special assessments, and contractual complexities. If an heir intends to refuse the inheritance, the absence of appropriate legal guidance can prolong the probate process, potentially stretching it over several years.


Simplify Your Approach to Avoiding Inherited Timeshares

Senior couple talking to an agent

Dealing with a timeshare inheritance can be tricky and overwhelming, especially if there’s no solid estate plan or if the timeshare contract details are hazy. If you’re thinking about passing your timeshare on, take a moment to think about whether your beneficiaries would actually want and value this kind of responsibility. 


And if you’re on the receiving end but want to say “no thanks” to a timeshare, remember to move quickly within the legal deadlines to officially turn it down. Getting your renunciation document ready, sending a disclaimer of interest to the probate court, and keeping multiple copies of these documents are key steps to protect yourself against potential disputes with the timeshare company.


There’s certainly a lot to juggle in this process. Navigating the complexities of declining an inherited timeshare, along with avoiding the ownership burdens that likely plagued the original owner, can indeed be a daunting task. If you want to avoid this burden for your loved ones, you need the help of experts in the timeshare business and all its complexities.


Centerstone Group is here to provide the expertise you need. Our extensive understanding of the timeshare exit process can assist you in getting out before your heirs have to deal with it and helping your heirs avoid probate. Our A+ rating and 4.8-out-of-5 stars with the Better Business Bureau shows you can count on us to assist you.


Contact us today to explore how we can help you exit your timeshare.


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