Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Timeshares and estate planning

Timeshares are a popular way for Connecticut residents to enjoy their favorite vacation destinations. However, they often do require fees for as long they're in ownership. That's why some timeshare owners worry that their heirs will eventually have to continue paying timeshare fees.

Trusts are one way to make sure heirs are free to choose whether to inherit a timeshare or sell it. However, financial experts say that a trust is not necessary to avoid passing on individual liability to heirs.

In the past, timeshares came with a deed, and owners were only allowed to use the property for a short period each year. Most owners now instead get a right to use the property during a time that they reserve. Annual costs are generally around $900 but can exceed well over $3,000 for expensive properties.

No one is forced to inherit a timeshare that they do not want. In many cases, owners can sell the property before death or ask for it to be taken back. If the resort refuses to take back the timeshare, the owner can abandon it.

Heirs can refuse to take a timeshare. Upon the owner's death, the heirs can file a written disclaimer of any interest in the property.

Anyone with questions about writing a will or creating a trust may benefit from speaking to an attorney with experience in estate planning. Just writing a will is not always the best solution. In some cases, a trust can help heirs avoid probate, preserve income during the remainder of the estate owner's life and save money on taxes.

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