Disclaiming an Interest in an Inherited Timeshare

Through a timeshare, multiple people can share the use of property—typically a hotel suite or a resort condo.

The concept is to enable everyone in a group to (collectively, but at different times) enjoy a property for an annual getaway—without having to buy real estate at a place they only plan to visit now and then.

Participants purchase their specific annual time periods, and share ongoing expenses for the property. These expenses include property management, landscaping and maintenance costs, and various taxes and fees.

Some Timeshares Are Inheritable, But Unwanted

The timeshare may be structured as a shared lease, a “right to use” for a certain period of years, or a deeded ownership.

A leased or “right to use” timeshare does not outlive its owners. A deed does. Deeded ownership in a timeshare is transferable, and the interest is usually owned in perpetuity.

To be part of a shared, deeded ownership means having a part of real property itself—an interest in the unit and some of its common areas. Other deed owners will also own an interest in the same property.

Although deeds can be inherited, not everyone wants to inherit a timeshare. This is because:

  • The timeshare’s structure limits its value as investment real estate;
  • Responsibilities can include heavy financial burdens: annual upkeep costs, taxes, and fees;
  • The fees may escalate annually;
  • Many timeshares depreciate over time.

Therefore, a timeshare deed holder, when writing a will, may instruct the executor not to make any payments or otherwise deal with the timeshare. In a best-case scenario, the timeshare corporation will accept the deed back.

The trouble comes when a person unexpectedly receives a timeshare through someone’s last will, or as a designated beneficiary. Or perhaps the timeshare agreement provides that the interests will pass to each purchaser’s children. Or the state’s marital property rules provide that the timeshare interest passes to the spouse. In each case, someone is entitled to the timeshare. Yet none of these provisions force the beneficiary to accept the timeshare. It would be a legal absurdity to force a person to take on burdens (along with benefits) that they never agreed to accept.  

Disclaimer of Interest in a Timeshare Inheritance

For a person not named on the deed of the timeshare, who does not wish to inherit the interest, a legal mechanism exists by which the person can reject this or any inheritance. This occurs through the Disclaimer of Interest.

The Disclaimer of Interest:

  • Names the deceased person.
  • Describes the interest.
  • Declares the intent to disclaim the interest.
  • Is signed and notarized with a notary public.

Deeds.com supplies the relevant part of the state probate code indicating where to submit the Disclaimer of Interest form.

While some jurisdictions require that the form be delivered to the personal representative in the county where the estate is being administered, filing with the county court may also be necessary.

A copy of the disclaimer should also go to the timeshare property and the lending bank, accompanied by the death certificate of the deceased person.

Note that a resort company, whether unaware or aware of the death of a timeshare owner, can bring a foreclosure suit for lack of payments. The executor might be able to sell a resort timeshare in a prime location. If the timeshare can be sold—even at a loss—the executor will notify the resort and lender of the current status, to prevent foreclosure and resale of the property interest by the timeshare corporation.

Finally, for a deed in real property, keep the title free from ambiguities by having a copy of the disclaimer recorded in the county where the property is. 

Tips and Cautions

Act wisely, by considering the following recommendations:

  • Act within the time allowed under state law. Usually there is a 9-month window after the death occurs to submit the disclaimer.
  • Filing a Disclaimer of Interest is irrevocable. You won’t get another opportunity to take the timeshare after you’ve disclaimed it.
  • If you intend to disclaim it, you may not use it. For example, the statute in Colorado on a Disclaimer of Interest (Col. Rev. Stat. 15-11-1213) states that “the option to disclaim is only available to beneficiaries who have not acted in any way to indicate acceptance or ownership of the interest.” In plain terms: don’t use it if you want to lose it.
  • Be sure that the timeshare corporation accepts the deed back. If no one accepts the deed, it is still in the estate. Meanwhile, the burden of taxes and fees continue. An executor might have no choice but to pay them out of the estate.
  • Tell other heirs to the estate what you intend to do. If you decide to renounce an inheritance, another heir will be called upon to accept it. They might wish to be prepared for this, and ready to file a Disclaimer of Interest as well.
  • Obtain legal advice. It is always wise to consult with an attorney on the consequences (to you, and to the estate) of disclaiming your inheritance.

Precision and Reliability

At Deeds.com, you can download a Disclaimer of Interest involving a real estate deed and be confident that it meets state probate law requirements. Our formats are precisely tailored to each jurisdiction’s rules, and include any supplemental forms that the state or county recorder requires.

Deeds.com documents are continually updated in compliance with current law.