Timeshare contracts can trap owners in such a way
that even death won’t allow an escape route. It is well known that an owner may
be stuck in a timeshare trap for the rest of their life but it isn’t as common knowledge
that its hold may stretch even further than that.
In the case that there is a joint ownership and
there is a remaining spouse then that spouse will assume responsibility for the
timeshare and its liabilities. However, if you are a single timeshare owner,
the timeshare would be passed on to your estate. This article reveals what
would happen in that circumstance.
The Perpetuity Clause
In the case of a single timeshare owner passing away, the remaining balance of the term of the contract or if the agreement is in perpetuity it would be passed onto the deceased’s estate to inherit. The estate would then be liable for any outstanding maintenance fees and possibly future annual maintenance fees. This in turn would be a detrimental financial burden to the estate.
The value of estate would be reduced depending on the above liabilities.
Declining Timeshare Inheritance
In some cases, provided the resort still operates, the estate could be
relieved of the timeshare and its liabilities. To do this, all maintenance fees
usually have to be paid up to date and it is necessary to send a letter to the
resort informing them that the owner has passed away and the timeshare will no
longer be needed. However, in the event that the children were the inheritors for
example, most people in the situation of their parents passing away are not
likely to have timeshare at the front of their minds.
If the resorts terms are met, the permission to decline should be
granted. Once granted the decision is final and cannot be undone. If the resort
doesn’t want the timeshare returned to them then the liability will pass on to
the next beneficiary in line, presumably another family member.
In the case that the resort does not accept the estates written
disclaimer to decline the timeshare, which some resorts do go down the line of
pursuing, an amicable solution has to be agreed. This is a worst case scenario
path to go down, in many situations the resort will take back the timeshare
without putting up too much of a fight but be aware that this could be a
possibility and it does happen. If the inheritor accepts the timeshare from the
estate they would be in the same position as the deceased and would therefore
have to comply with the resort’s exit policy.
As an owner, the safest option for the future of your estate in regards
to timeshare ownership would be to find a way to exit from the agreement while
it is still in your name. It is a difficult situation, as the contracts are
designed to keep owners locked into the timeshare for longer than a lifetime
but it can be done. With the right advice, assistance and in some cases legal
representation on your side it is possible to escape the fate of your timeshare.
Many owners looking for ways out of their timeshares are now consulting the
services of a compensation lawyer to investigate whether their timeshare was
correctly sold and the terms within their contract are compliant with the laws of
the land. For example, if contracted in Spain, the timeshare company was not
allowed to sell an ownership that has a duration period of longer than 50
years, take any form of purchase payment during the cooling off period and in
all circumstances the timeshare week sold must have its own land registry
number detailed in the contract.
If you are a timeshare owner and any of these terms were breached along
with purchasing the ownership after 1999, then you could be one-step closer to
receiving a substantial amount of financial compensation. For all you know you
could have a claim worth thousands, but you won’t know until you start looking
Please note that the sale of a timeshare by points or fractional are not
compliant with timeshare legislation, including the taking of any monies during
the cooling off period.
The bottom line is that the inheritance of a timeshare can be seen both
as a blessing and a curse. This less spoke about subject is well worth
investigating in order to make an informed decision for yourselves and next of
Posted on: February 5, 2020
For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk