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How To Transfer A Timeshare Deed To A Family Member

With the whole world upside as we collectively move through this pandemic, most areas of life have been affected including the timeshare market. With travel restrictions, many folks are not able to use their timeshare, and yet continue to pay maintenance fees. As financial struggles continue to grow among the general population, it may be time to get rid of that timeshare.

The pandemic affected timeshare travel

The timeshare resale market is saturated and it can be difficult to sell your property for a profit. You may decide that you would like to transfer ownership to a family member as a gift or for a nominal fee. Regardless of whether you gift your timeshare or sell it to a family member, you will need to follow the legal protocol of the country or state where your timeshare is located.

If you decide to transfer ownership of your deeded timeshare to a family member it is important to remember that this process is still a legally binding business deal. Ensure that the lines of communication between you and the family member are open and clear. Even if you choose to gift your timeshare, there is a fair amount of paperwork involved, and you may want to consider contracting out a third-party professional to handle the details.

Whether you choose to handle the deed transference yourself or enlist the aid of a professional, by keeping a few guidelines in mind you will ensure a smooth transference process.

Here are a few items to keep in mind to ensure a legal and thorough deed transfer:

  1. You must be up to date with all maintenance fees.
  2. Confirm the cost of transference and any new membership application that needs to be filed from the particular institution where your timeshare is located.
  3. Obtain a new deed from the province or country where your timeshare is located.
  4. If there is still a mortgage remaining on the timeshare, be sure that there is a clear understanding of who will take over the payments.

Giving a family member your timeshare can appear generous at first, but be sure that the person you gift your timeshare to understands the membership and maintenance fees associated with ownership, as these can be high. It is also important to be explicit about whether these maintenance fees exist in perpetuity, or if the timeshare is only for a limited period of time.

A symbiotic transference is possible. You may be a few simple steps away from timeshare freedom while your family member can be well on their way to enjoying a beautiful vacation destination by following guidelines that ensure legal deed transference with ease.

Timeshare Transfers In A Pandemic World

More than likely, you have not been able to vacation for over a year and your timeshare has sat empty, yet you continue to pay the necessary associated fees. Here is what NBC recommends during this era if you are looking for relief from timeshare fees:

“Ask for a break: Depending on the terms of your contract, you may be able to rent your timeshare for a year or two while you are not using it or defer payments. “Start by calling your developer or go to the resort and ask what the options are,” advised Jason Gamel, CEO of the American Resort Development Association.” (1)

If you are unable to keep up with necessary payments, it is essential that you call your development immediately and find out what they are able to offer you. If there are no financial breaks available it may be time to enlist the aid of family members. Perhaps, there are individuals who are close to you who would like to take over your timeshare and will not find the fiscal responsibilities to be a burden. 

Gain Clarity On The Requirements Of The Resort Where Your Timeshare Is Located: Membership Transfer Application And Fees

You will need to investigate the particular requirements of the institution where your timeshare is located in order to legally transfer deed ownership to a family member. Often resorts will have a small fee to transfer deed ownership, regardless if the timeshare is a gift or not. You can expect to pay roughly $100.00 USD to your resort for the application of transfer for a new owner.

Some resorts will not have a transference fee, be sure to investigate thoroughly what your particular resort requires in order to successfully transfer ownership. Before continuing with any legal work you may need to fill out a membership transfer application and pay the associated fee.

Before transferring your ownership deed to a family member be certain that you are updated on any membership or maintenance fees. Late charges for late payment can be astronomical in some locations, charging as high as 10%-30% interest per month on late payments. As you gift your timeshare to a loved one, ensure that you are not saddling them with a four-digit late fee invoice for maintenance and membership fees.

After filing the required membership transfer applications and paying any associated fees you will be ready to take the next step in the deed transference process.

Draw Up A Real Estate Contract: Follow Due Legal Process Even As You Gift Your Timeshare To A Family Member

Even as you gift your timeshare to a family member you will want to ensure that you are giving them the gift of a market value investment as well as a place to vacation.

Your contract should include specific information regarding the unit you are transferring:

  1. An appraisal of the property dating back no further from 60 days of the deed transfer: This appraisal should be conducted by a professional based on a fair market value of the property.
  2. Include the name of the resort and unit number.
  3. The weeks during the year that the timeshare is available to be used. Are those time slots fixed or floating or are they tied to a points system?
  4. The applicable maintenance and membership fees of the resort where the timeshare is located, are they monthly or annual?
  5. The name and contact information of the person responsible for paying fees. In case of a default on payment, which party will ultimately be financially responsible, include their names and contact information.
  6. All parties involved in the presence of an authentic notary republic must sign documents.

Carefully drafting a legally binding contract will ease the transference process for you and your family members.

Legalities: Understanding The Laws Of The Country Where Your Timeshare Is Located

The deed and title transference will be subject to the real-estate laws of the country where your timeshare is located, not your country of origin. Real-estate laws vary wildly from country to country. This is why it may be helpful to get a third party professional from the country where your timeshare is located involved.

International timeshare legislation varies

If your timeshare is located in a Caribbean island, understand that these countries are notorious for drafting ‘fake’ deeds, you could find out three years down the road that the title of the property is in a stranger’s name and that your family member has been stuck paying the membership and maintenance fees. If your timeshare is international, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a real estate lawyer in that country to protect you and your family member from fraud.

Remember, your timeshare ownership will be subject to the laws of the country or state where it is located; these laws may be quite different from what you are accustomed to. You will need to be vigilant that all titles and deeds are updated in accordance with the laws of the country where your vacation destination is located.

Obtaining A New Deed In The Location Of Your Timeshare

As you transfer your timeshare to a family member you will need to obtain a new deed from the county clerk’s office in the country where your timeshare is located. The new deed will need to be signed by both parties in front of a notary public, and have copies made for each respective family member. Submit the original copy of the notarized deed along with any records of property taxes paid to the county or province clerk’s office.

If your timeshare is in a foreign country, you may need a translator or a professional in the legal field to direct you to the appropriate venue. You will need to find the equivalent of a ‘county clerk’ in the country where your timeshare is located.

Finally, you will need to submit a copy of the new deed and property title change along with a letter to the administration of the resort or institution where the timeshare is located. This letter should detail the transaction and include: New membership application and associated fees, contact information, unit number, the week and season of the timeshare occupancy and any other pertinent information.

A Symbiotic Transference Of Timeshare Ownership To A Family Member

It may be ideal for you to relinquish your timeshare to a family member. Before you follow through with the deed transfer be absolutely sure that all parties involved understand that ongoing membership and maintenance fees are part and parcel of timeshare ownership.

Outstanding and delinquent accounts must be paid in full before transferring the timeshare. Although the timeshare may be a gift, it is critical that you follow due legal process in the country where your timeshare is located. By following meticulously the guidelines outlined above you will be able to simply and legally transfer ownership.

Ultimately transferring ownership of a timeshare to a family member could be the ultimate in symbiosis. You can relieve yourself of financial responsibility to a vacation destination you do not even use and simultaneously be offering the gift of a lifetime to a family member. Remember, just because you love each other and are part of a family, it is still a real estate transaction and all of the same protocol should be followed as if you were strangers.

Protect yourself, your timeshare investment, and your family member and follow due legal process in the transference of your deeded timeshare.

Eventually travel will open up again, and perhaps family members will be thrilled to travel to your timeshare even if you are unable to.

Sources Cited:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/10/covid-19-how-to-get-out-of-vacation-timeshare.html
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