Timeshares seem like something wonderful to leave the family when owners don’t consider the annual maintenance fees and dues they pass on. The responsibility of payment for a vacation property your father owned depends on several factors. If you don’t want the inconvenience or expense of owning a timeshare, you can refuse the inheritance. However, the ownership becomes a part of your father’s estate from which payments would continue until a sale or foreclosure of the property.
When your father purchased the timeshare property, he signed a deed and bought partial ownership of a condominium unit or vacation home. Typically, an owner uses a unit purchased on the property at a resort or some vacation spot for a certain period of time. Although your father might own a particular unit for a week each year, he owns the parcel as part of the real estate agreement through the timeshare association or management and the recorded deed. That property, like a permanent residence he owned, becomes part of his estate upon death.
Deed or Will
The responsibility or ownership of the timeshare property involves the names or co-signers listed on the deed. Your father could have included a name on the deed, such as his spouse or a child. A parent could believe his survivors would enjoy the vacation property just as he did. You might have agreed to have your name on the deed if he asked you a while back. Maybe you didn’t think much about it at the time. In that case, you would take over responsibility for payments. Your father could have left you the timeshare property in a will or trust among his assets. You can refuse to accept that inheritance, but the property still remains a part of your father’s estate.
Estates of the deceased usually go through probate, a process monitored by the local court to distribute assets properly. The executor or administrator of the estate would continue payments on the timeshare using money from accounts in the estate or even selling assets to pay the fees. Anyone can administer the estate, including a member of the family. The administrator or executor of the estate could try to sell the timeshare, pass it on to an heir who wants it or even donate it to a charity organization that buys timeshares.
It’s possible the estate has enough funds or your father had a life insurance policy that could pay off the mortgage balance for the property. If your father is still alive and enjoying the timeshare unit, let him know your concerns about inheriting this responsibility. He could leave instructions through a will or the estate administrator to discontinue payments on the timeshare. Either the timeshare company or association will take over the deed or foreclose on the property, depending on state laws, which would not affect the credit rating of heirs.
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