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Timeshare Ownership: What Happens When an Owner Dies?

One of the concerns of timeshare ownership is what will happen when an owner dies. When this occurs, the person or persons responsible for the deceased owner's estate will have some extra responsibilities to see to. Who will end up with the timeshare depends on whether the deceased had a will, their marital status, and what type of deed is associated with the property. Below, you'll learn more about what to expect if this happens to a timeshare owner in your family.

Will the Timeshare Go Through Probate?

Whether the timeshare goes through the probate process depends on the type of deed that the owner or owners have. If the timeshare is jointly owned with right of survivorship, the surviving owner automatically becomes the full owner. This is the type of ownership with the fewest hassles for all involved. If the deed reflects joint tenancy or sole ownership, the timeshare will have to be probated. New timeshare owners should have a will or living trust drawn up upon purchasing their property.

A Time and Expense-Saving Tip

One thing that a lot of people are unaware of is that two states could be involved in the probate process. If the timeshare was owned in a state other than the deceased's state of residence, the timeshare will need to be probated in the state in which it's located. To avoid these extra expenses, some timeshare owners add their heirs on as co-owners when more than 2 people can have joint ownership with right of survivorship. This way, the probate process is avoided and the owners can sell the property more easily.

What Responsibilities Does an Executor Have?

The executor will have to take on the responsibilities that belonged to the deceased owner during the probate process. The executor will have to familiarize himself or herself with the terms of thetimeshare contract . Unless the deceased had an insurance policy that would pay off the mortgage balance upon death, the mortgage still has to be paid every month. If the mortgage is not kept up to date, the timeshare can still be foreclosed. The upkeep fees and property taxes also have to be kept current. Being an executor shouldn't be taken lightly by any means.

What if I Inherit a Timeshare I Don't Want?

This does actually occur more often than many people realize. A timeshare owner may will a timeshare to a relative whom they think would use the property without asking first. The heir may not want the responsibilities of a second property, or just might not be interested in keeping it. In this case, they can disclaim the property and simply not take the title. This process allows the executor to take charge of the property instead of the heir. The estate's executor can give the property to another heir, sell it, or donate it. The executor of an estate that involves a timeshare may want to look into some possible advantages of donating the timeshare.