A timeshare is considered real estate and would be managed similar to how a house would be handled after the death of an owner. Responsibility for a timeshare upon the death of an owner depends on the type of ownership selected at the time the timeshare was purchased. The ownership type can be found on the property deed.
Tenant by Severalty
A tenant by severalty is a sole owner. When that owner dies, the property goes to the owner’s estate. The estate handles any past due maintenance fees or mortgage payments and will distribute the property according to the deceased’s will. The heir will then become responsible for the annual maintenance fees on the timeshare. If the heir chooses not to inherit the timeshare, the estate will handle the sale of the property.
Tenants by the Entirety
Ownership of tenants by the entirety consists of a husband and wife who own the property together – as a single, legal unit – with right of survivorship. Under this form of ownership, only creditors of the couple can place a claim on the timeshare rather than creditors of an individual spouse. Because this type of ownership includes the right of survivorship, upon the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse would be entitled to the deceased’s share of the property.
Joint tenants are two or more people who own property together with the right of survivorship. Right of survivorship means the remaining owner or owners assume full responsibility for the property upon the death of an owner. Rather than the deceased owner’s portion going to his heirs, the surviving owner is entitled to the deceased’s share, as well as the responsibility for that share.
This differs from tenancy by the entirety in that joint tenants do not have to be married. Also, joint tenants may sell their interests in the property. Once a joint tenant sells his interest, the all owners become tenants in common.
Tenants in Common
Tenants in common are two or more people who own property together without the right of survivorship. Each owner has an undivided percentage ownership interest. Tenants in common may sell their interests in the property.
This differs from joint tenancy in that tenants in common do not have the right of survivorship. Upon the death of a tenant in common, his share of ownership will go to his estate to be distributed according to the deceased’s will.
Dawn Aldridge has worked in accounting and business since 2004. Her diverse experience includes public, small business and government accounting, as well as logistics and inventory management. She holds an MBA from the University of Illinois at Springfield.