You have been named as a beneficiary in Aunt Helen’s Will and one of the items she left you is her Florida timeshare resort. You think: I can’t wait to tell my wife and the kids! But you have heard “things” about timeshares and wait to spread the news.
As investigation begins, the Florida vacation week at the beach turns into a cause for concern. First, you learn there’s a $1,300 annual maintenance fee that has increased every year. Second, the possible liability of special assessments that a hurricane or other natural disaster could trigger. And then, you discover your travel app can book your family in the resort for less than the resort maintenance fee!
Upon reading through documents, the developer inserted a “perpetuity clause” into its timeshare contract with Aunt Helen. This clause means that she was obligated to pay the timeshare costs during her lifetime and that these costs transferred to her estate or to her beneficiary upon death. Many developers use this clause to ensure they have someone on the hook to pay the bills after the purchaser passes. This clause is legal in many states. Now, you realize that if you do not pay, the resort owner can sue you, and that nonpayment likely will damage your credit.
Based on investigation you have these choices:
- Keep the timeshare.
- Ask the owner to accept a deed back.
- Attempt to sell your timeshare, paying the fees while you wait for a buyer.
- Notify the probate court that you do not want the timeshare. The procedure for accomplishing this varies from state-to-state and may require the assistance of a timeshare lawyer.
If you decide to decline the timeshare, the obligation to pay timeshare expenses does not necessarily disappear. Instead, it becomes the obligation of, first, the next beneficiary in line according to the estate plan and, second, if all beneficiaries decline, her estate. If the obligation becomes a debt of the estate, the estate may have to pay these expenses for as long as it has the assets to do so.
As an alternative, you may have received the property because the salesman convinced Aunt Helen to put your name on the property when she bought it. In other words, the property came directly to you upon her death. This probably eliminated your right to disclaim the property.
Timeshares are designed to be complicated and a continuous stream of income to the developer…..forever!
Fidelity Resource Management offers a free evaluation of your situation and our timeshare legal team will determine if you have a case to legally cancel your timeshare.
Call us today at 877-218-3223!