If you have not properly planned, timeshares can inadvertently saddle your loved ones with headaches and needless expenses when you die. Few people realize that most timeshares are deeded real property, even if it is only a week in Sedona or two weeks in Hawaii. If you own the timeshare jointly with someone (e.g., a spouse or friend), you may be fine. But what if you and your spouse die in a common accident? Or your spouse has passed and you now own it yourself alone? Owning real property subjects you to a probate in that state when you die. If you do own a timeshare, make sure you have thought about succession planning. Some options are to place the timeshare in a trust, or to add a child or friend you wish to inherit your timeshare deed before you die (assuming they are willing to take on the annual expense after you are gone). Otherwise, you may end up costing your family far more money dealing with the timeshare than it is actually worth, not to mention the added stress!
Whether you have a will-based estate plan or trust-based one choosing the right person who will be in charge of your assets when you are gone is sometimes a difficult decision for people. Gone are the days when the oldest son is automatically chosen. I’ve seen too many family fights occur simply because the wrong person is serving in this position. You know your family and its particular politics best.
Blended families may want to utilize Co-Personal Representatives so that a child from each side is represented. In some situations it is necessary to go to a neutral third party, like a neighbor, sibling, or professional. Things to consider when choosing:
- Are they fair?
- Are they good communicators?
- Are they able to take criticism and not let it bother them?
Worry less about who is “local” and more about who you truly trust to get the job done. Always remember to have plenty of contingency planning in case someone you choose dies, gets sick, or just doesn’t want to do it.
Choose wisely and you will minimize family discord after you pass.
Does your neighbor or best friend complain to you that if you don’t have a trust you will regret it? Everyone has heard of the word, but few people truly understand the benefits and drawbacks of trusts, let alone what kind of trust they may have. The truth is that not everyone needs a trust. The answer depends on what state you are a resident of when you die, and other factors including whether you own real estate in more than one state.
Read this handout and you will know more about trusts than that pesky neighbor who thinks you are doing everything wrong…
Kathryn Bedell 1/31/2019