November 14, 2022
Keep Your Timeshare Out of a Probate Nightmare
Florida has always been a hotbed vacation destination and has an enormous foothold on the timeshare industry. Some of the most popular timeshare destinations in the world are located right here in our backyard. Disney Vacation Club (DVC) tends to be one of the most valuable timeshare holdings in the State however there are many more options and surplus available for those looking for a deal.
Timeshares Are Real Estate
One of the first things to know about a timeshare purchase is that it is a legal real estate purchase. It should not be regarded as a personal property interest like a car or a boat. And so, the transfer of a Florida timeshare is conducted via a Deed or court order.
Difficulty in Transfer or Inheritance of a Florida Timeshare
One of the biggest challenges with timeshares is the graceful transfer to your heirs or conversely inheriting a timeshare without issue. There are only a few ways to transfer a timeshare to your heirs:
1. Probate court administration (probate of your Will or probate to your natural heirs)
2. Distribution through a Trust
3. Adding parties to the title by deed transfer
The vast majority of timeshare interests are inherited through the probate process and this process costs money and exposes the timeshare to potential claims of creditors.
No matter where the timeshare owner calls home, and absent proper planning, a probate administration must occur in Florida.
Problems with Timeshares after Death of Owner
Virtually all timeshares have recurring monthly, quarterly or annual “maintenance” payments which are very much like homeowner’s association fees. These payments help support the ongoing requirements of maintaining the resort and failure to pay may mean foreclosure of the timeshare.
A resourceful person might think they could just rent their timeshare week(s) out to pay for the maintenance fees but if you are not the record owner yet, you would not have the legal authority to do so. Furthermore, if you are not the record owner, you may be prohibited from even using/enjoying the timeshare.
How to Avoid Probate for Your Florida Timeshare
First, if you’re the intended heir of a timeshare, it may be too late if the original owner has died without planning appropriately. If you are a current owner or believe the current owner intends for you to eventually own the timeshare, read on to learn ways to make sure your timeshare is transferred or disposed of, without issue:
- Add persons to the title via Deed. But not just any deed. A life estate deed with a mechanism to automatically transfer the property upon the death of the original owner is one method.
- Transfer your timeshare to your living/revocable trust. If the trust owns the timeshare, the trustee of your trust can simply transfer it to your intended heirs after you pass.
- Sell and gift your timeshare before you pass (via Deed).
Note that if you’re still paying off the mortgage for your timeshare, some of these methods may require some reconsideration however for the most part, the existence of a mortgage is a non-issue.
Take Action Now to Avoid a Probate Headache for Your Heirs
Thousands of current timeshare owners are paying $$$$ to probate and transfer timeshare interests when a bit of solid planning could avoid these problems down the road.
We offer all of the above reference options and can handle this in a tidy, efficient and cost-effective manner. We handle transfers or planning for timeshares throughout the entire State of Florida.