A strong selling point for many parents when considering the purchase of a vacation time share is that they can leave it to their children when they die. A time share buys a stay every year at a resort for a week or two, so it is actually buying a share in real property. Who wouldn't want to inherit such a deal? But the cost of the time share might not be paid off at the time of your father's death, and even if it is, maintenance fees must still be paid -- fees that often increase from year to year.
You Can Never Leave
With some time shares, once you are in, you can never get out, even by dying. Most deeds state that the owner has the time share "in perpetuity," which means forever. Upon death of the owner, the time share passes to the family, according to Doug Wheeler, a Seattle lawyer, on KIROTV.com. The family member it goes to is responsible for paying the balance owed, if any, and the yearly fees. The only ways to get out from under are to sell it, which could prove difficult, or to give it away.
The Responsible Party
After your father dies, the financial responsibility for the time share becomes his spouse's. If there is no spouse, the time share goes to the heirs. It is a good idea to discuss with your father whether or not you want the time share after he dies. If he knows you don't want it, he can make other arrangements, such as willing it to someone else. You might get some good times from owning the time share, however. And, if it is in a desirable resort, you might be able to sell it for a good price.
If You Are in the Will
Your father might have left the time share to you in his will without your knowledge. If the time share is not a financial expense you are prepared to take on, you can refuse to accept it. The time share then goes to the executor of the estate. He can give it to another heir. If no one accepts it, the time share stays in your father's estate, and assets in the estate go toward paying for the time share. You can also try to sell or donate the time share you inherit.
A Warning About Selling
People often have a difficult time selling their time shares. Scam artists have popped up to offer to sell time shares for a fee, but they typically take the fee and leave town, leaving their victims with an unsold time share on their hands. A better course of action is to ask the time share developer if he would be willing to buy the time share back. If not, you can try to sell it yourself through an online marketplace.
- Redweek.com: Timeshare Pros and Cons
- KIROTV.com: Death Doesn't Stop Legal Obligations of Timeshare
- Ric Edelman: Do You Wish You'd Never Bought That Timeshare?
- Vacation Timeshare Rentals: Timeshare Ownership: What Happens When an Owner Dies?
- ThinkGlink: Inheriting Timeshares: How to Avoid an Inherited Timeshare
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images