By M. Beddingfield

What should you do if you inherit a timeshare that you can’t afford or don’t want?

When you lose a loved one, the last thing you have on your mind is your inheritance. Grief makes it hard to think rationally. If you stand to inherit a resort unit, the last thing you want to do is just accept it and worry about dealing with it later. This could certainly cause all kinds of problems for you down the line.

Few people realize that when you are bequeathed an inheritance, they have the choice of acceptance or not accepting it. They can choose to refuse or disclaim an inheritance. In the case of resort property, this is a viable alternative to inheriting something that isn’t wanted or can’t be use.

When you choose to refuse an inheritance there are several qualifications that have to be met. First, you must file a Disclaimer of Interest. The disclaimer must be a written refusal to accept the what was supposed to be inherited. You can’t accept part of the timeshare, such as using it for one week and then not afterward. You have to irrevocably refuse the whole package. A qualified estate attorney can help you with documentation.

You have to file your Disclaimer of Interest within a certain time period, usually nine months from the date of the death of person you inherited the property from; unless you are under the age of twenty-one, then the time period begins when you turn twenty-one.

The resort or the bank will likely continue to expect payments if the unit has a mortgage. Make sure that the executor of the estate sends them a copy of the death certificate to prevent the property from going into foreclosure. A death certificate should also be sent to the property management company to prevent the continued dunning of maintenance fees.

Once you file the Disclaimer of Interest, you cannot change your mind and you have no say as to what happens to the property. In other words, you can’t say you want it to go to charity or to your favorite cousin. After you renounce your interest, you will have nothing more to do with it.

In general, if you refuse an inheritance, it will go to the next person in line to inherit. If you have a large family and no one wants the property, they will each have to file their own Disclaimer of Interest.

One other significant qualification must be met. You can’t have all ready accepted the property or used it in any way to benefit yourself. That means you can’t vacation away your grief in the sunny Florida in the unit and then refuse to accept it as an inheritance. It might be tempting to do, but you might end up bearing the burden of an unwanted resort property until you can bequeath it to someone else.

In the case of inheriting any property, it is important to examine all of your options. Before you say yes, do some research into what owning a timeshare involves and make an educated decision whether it is something you want or can use. Then you can just say no.