Probate and Your Florida Timeshare
Walt Disney World, EPCOT, the Magic Kingdom, Universal, the white sandy beaches of Destin, and the Treasure Coast are all easy annual vacation spots for you and your loved ones thanks to your timeshare. However, it’s important to understand how the timeshare will be handled after you pass away. Without proper life planning, your timeshare could be subject to a lengthy probate process.
In this blog, we’ll briefly explore what probate is, what happens to your timeshare when you have a life plan, what happens without a plan, and what to expect if you’re not from Florida.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone passes away in Florida. It involves validating the will (if there is one), identifying and gathering the decedent’s assets, paying any outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. If the deceased did not have a plan, the probate court will determine who inherits the assets based on Florida’s intestacy laws, which follow a predetermined order of priority.
What Happens to Your Timeshare With a Life Plan?
With a life plan, you have control over how your timeshare is distributed, potentially avoiding a lengthier probate process. There are a couple of options to achieve this goal.
One option is to create a trust and transfer ownership of the timeshare to the trust. When you pass away, the trust will dictate how the timeshare is distributed, avoiding the need for the court to make decisions on your behalf. By having a trust in place, you can also potentially save time and money in probate fees and ensure that your timeshare is distributed according to your wishes.
Another option is to designate a beneficiary for your timeshare through a transfer-on-death deed (more commonly known as a ladybird deed) or a beneficiary designation form, depending on how the ownership is held and if the company will allow this. This too can help you avoid a lengthier probate process and ensure that your timeshare is distributed to the person, or people, you choose, while also avoiding disputes between potential heirs.
What Happens to Your Timeshare Without a Life Plan?
Without a life plan, if you pass away without a will, the probate process can be prolonged, costlier, and the person who inherits your timeshare may not be who you intended. The probate court will determine who inherits your assets based on Florida’s intestacy laws, which follow a predetermined order of priority. For instance, if you are survived by a spouse, you will likely inherit the timeshare. If you do not have a surviving spouse, your children will inherit it. However, if you have multiple beneficiaries or a blended family, they may need to come to an agreement on how to use the timeshare or who will inherit it; which can lead to conflicts and disputes that can drag out the probate process and increase the fees.
Help for Non-Florida Residents and Non-Florida Attorneys
When a non-Florida resident owns a timeshare in Florida, and they pass away, the timeshare is considered real property subject to Florida probate laws and rules. This means that a Florida ancillary probate action is necessary to pass the timeshare to the lawful heirs or beneficiaries. However, the process can be complex and overwhelming. That’s why it’s essential to have experienced legal representation to guide you through the process and ensure that your loved one’s timeshare is distributed according to their wishes.
At the Law Offices of Mark F. Moss, we provide experienced representation for people living outside of the state but have lost a loved one who owned a timeshare interest in Florida. We can help you begin the Florida ancillary administration probate process; efficiently handling all out-of-state resident ancillary probate matters all over Florida. We also frequently work with out-of-state probate attorneys to assist them with probating Florida real property.
Protect Your Florida Timeshare
Planning ahead with a life plan can help ensure that your timeshare is distributed as you intended. On the other hand, not having a life plan in place can lead to a lengthy, costly, and unpredictable probate process.
If you’re a non-Florida resident who owns a timeshare in Florida, it’s important to understand how Florida probate laws may affect your timeshare after you pass away. Seeking experienced legal representation can help ensure that your loved one’s timeshare is distributed according to their wishes, without unnecessary delays or conflicts.
Our team has extensive experience handling Florida probate matters and can provide the guidance and representation you need to protect your assets and loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start planning your estate.
Don’t wait until it’s too late, take action now to ensure that your timeshare and other assets are handled the way you want them to be. Call (904) 329-7242 or book a consultation online today.
This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with the Law Offices of Mark F. Moss, PLLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.