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Timeshare surrender denied, no idea why, please help

Uncle Freddie

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TUG,

This is my first post. I have a problem and I hope someone can guide me in the right direction.

My parents died about 6 and 9 years ago, respectively. They had no will or estate. I am their only child.

They owned a timeshare; bought in 1990; fully paid for; only annual maintenance fees remained which they paid every year.

The timeshare contract and deed has only their names and signatures. Not mine. This is important.

Since 2014, I committed an original sin: I have been paying the timeshare fee only because I was not sure what to do. I saw a bill, I paid a bill, simple as that. In the back of my mind, I thought that if I ever wanted to visit the timeshare, I should at least keep it out of delinquency.

This year, I have come to the conclusion that I will never visit this timeshare.

So, two months ago, I consulted an attorney to look at the timeshare deed and contract.

His conclusion was that my name is not on any timeshare contract or deed. I do not own the timeshare, and I did not inherit the timeshare from my parents.

Immediately following my meeting with the attorney, I sent a letter to the timeshare company, with death certificates, requesting a surrender. I stated specifically that I am not the owner of the timeshare, regardless of the fact that I rather stupidly paid the annual dues for 6 years. I also stated specifically that I have never visited the timeshare property myself. I may have paid the fees, but no, I have never used it.

Today, two months later, I have received a letter from the timeshare saying that the Board has not approved my request. That is literally all it says:

"Unfortunately the Board has not approved your request."

No details.

I don't understand. The owners of the timeshare are dead. I don't own the timeshare. So what if I paid them money to give me time to think. Although I paid the fees, I have never used the timeshare myself, and I put that in the letter. My mistake for giving them free money for 6 years.


Can anyone offer any advice here? I kept this first post short, and I will gladly add any details to this post to help your answers.

If the next step is for the timeshare company to foreclose on the timeshare, what happens when a company tries to foreclose on deceased owners?

Is there any way that this can impact my credit? Again, the timeshare deed and contact was signed by my parents in 1990, not me. I was still in college in 1990.




Thanks,
Fred
 

Iggyearl

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Fred, many timeshare companies have a "give-back" program. You would be best advised to name the resort so others can comment. The developer has received monies from you as if you were the owner, so their best reaction is to "hold you responsible." Of course, they would like you to keep paying. How was this timeshare treated in your parents estate? If it was not disclaimed, then it would be assumed that the estate kept it. Who is in the estate?
 
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DaveNV

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I am not an attorney, so this is just my opinion:

If your name does not appear anywhere on the contract or in the timeshare company's records, I'd say you should just stop paying the fees. They will try to collect delinquent fees from your parents, who are deceased. I don't see how you could be held liable for things, if you never accepted ownership of the timeshare and/or if the deed was never put into your name. If they are sending the bills to you in your name, how do they show you are responsible? If they're sending the bills to your parents' names and you're paying the bills, that doesn't necessarily indicate acceptance of the ownership. if it goes to foreclosure, the resort will have no choice but to take it back, no matter what they said in the letter to you.

I'd call the resort and ask to speak to the business office (or whoever) handles this sort of thing. Heirs are not required to accept ownership of timeshares owned be a decedent. The thing to find out is who the resort thinks you are, relative to the deeded timeshare. The second question to ask is precisely what does that one sentence reply mean?

Dave
 

geist1223

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What type of timeshare ownership? Deed with a specific Unit and Specific week, Floating Week, Floating Unit, Points, etc? I am assuming there was no probate when your last parent died. Hopefully the Timeshare Organization does not have your full name, Date of Birth, SSN, etc.

Just stop paying the yearly Maintence Fee. Ignore all Phone calls, letters, etc. Do not acknowledge any type of interest in the property.

Just in case they try and report you for nonpayment to one or more Credit Reporting Organizations get all the Records in order showing that the timeshare was solely in your parents name and you had no interest. If they do Report you contact the Credit Agency to file a dispute. Also talk to an attorney about filing against the Timeshare for Libel and or slander.
 

Uncle Freddie

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Fred, many timeshare companies have a "give-back" program. You would be best advised to name the resort so others can comment. The developer has received monies from you as if you were the owner, so their best reaction is to "hold you responsible." Of course, they would like you to keep paying. How was this timeshare treated in your parents estate? If it was not disclaimed, then it would be assumed that the estate kept it. Who is in the estate?


Thanks Iggyearl. Here are those details, if this is not enough, I can give more:

The resort is Port O'Call in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
The timeshare company is Elite Resort Group.
The timeshare is a deeded-type, with the same week (week 6) and the same unit every year.


I am an only child.

My parents had no estate and no will. They owned a house, some bank accounts, and an IRA. The house went to me because we did a Quit Claim Deed while they were still alive. The bank accounts and IRA went to me because I was the listed beneficiary. I never thought I needed probate so I never went to probate.

The timeshare had no specific treatment in any will or estate because there were none. I did not speak with an attorney in 2014 to disclaim anything because I simply did not know I needed to do that.

I (stupidly) paid the fees for 6 years now because I was not sure what do to, and time got away from me.


Thanks,
Fred
 

Uncle Freddie

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What type of timeshare ownership? Deed with a specific Unit and Specific week, Floating Week, Floating Unit, Points, etc? I am assuming there was no probate when your last parent died. Hopefully the Timeshare Organization does not have your full name, Date of Birth, SSN, etc.

Just stop paying the yearly Maintence Fee. Ignore all Phone calls, letters, etc. Do not acknowledge any type of interest in the property.

Just in case they try and report you for nonpayment to one or more Credit Reporting Organizations get all the Records in order showing that the timeshare was solely in your parents name and you had no interest. If they do Report you contact the Credit Agency to file a dispute. Also talk to an attorney about filing against the Timeshare for Libel and or slander.

Thanks geist1223.

It's a deed with specific unit and week.

Correct, I never went to probate when my last parent died.

The timeshare organization has only my parent's full name, DOB, and SSN, I presume.

Neither I nor my parents when they were alive gave the timeshare my DOB or SSN.

HOWEVER: I live in my parent's house that I inherited (inherited without probate because of the Quit Claim Deed) so I would assume the timeshare has a single address on file for both me and my dead parents.

ALSO HOWEVER: I am named after my father. I am a Jr. but I don't go by "Fred Jr."
I am saying this to say that I, Fred, live at the same address now that my father, also Fred, was living when he was alive.

What credit bureau toxic stew might this cause? If the timeshare company decides to bully me for money through the credit bureaus, I do hope the bureaus are smart enough to see that I and my father have different SSNs and DOBs.
 

vacationtime1

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Just stop paying the yearly Maintence Fee. Ignore all Phone calls, letters, etc. Do not acknowledge any type of interest in the property.

Just in case they try and report you for nonpayment to one or more Credit Reporting Organizations get all the Records in order showing that the timeshare was solely in your parents name and you had no interest. If they do Report you contact the Credit Agency to file a dispute.

^^^^^^^^^^ This is good advice.
 

Uncle Freddie

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I am not an attorney, so this is just my opinion:

If your name does not appear anywhere on the contract or in the timeshare company's records, I'd say you should just stop paying the fees. They will try to collect delinquent fees from your parents, who are deceased. I don't see how you could be held liable for things, if you never accepted ownership of the timeshare and/or if the deed was never put into your name. If they are sending the bills to you in your name, how do they show you are responsible? If they're sending the bills to your parents' names and you're paying the bills, that doesn't necessarily indicate acceptance of the ownership. if it goes to foreclosure, the resort will have no choice but to take it back, no matter what they said in the letter to you.

I'd call the resort and ask to speak to the business office (or whoever) handles this sort of thing. Heirs are not required to accept ownership of timeshares owned be a decedent. The thing to find out is who the resort thinks you are, relative to the deeded timeshare. The second question to ask is precisely what does that one sentence reply mean?

Dave
Thanks DaveNV. The last maintenance fee I paid was in December 2019 for the 2020 season.

The bills themselves are always addressed to my parent's names. For example "Fred and Wilma Flintstone, 222 Main Street" etc. because that is the name they have on file.

I live at my parent's address, since I inherited their house (inherited without probate because of the Quit Claim Deed)

I am named after my father. I am a Jr. but I don't go by "Fred Jr." It all adds up to the fact that I, Fred, live at the same address now that my father, also Fred, was living when he was alive.

The checks I wrote for the last 6 years were from my bank account and have my name on them, which is the same as my father's name.

I really don't think any of the same name, same address stuff matters, but I just want everyone helping me with your comments to know about this wrinkle. At the end of the day (I hope) everything comes down to DOBs and SSNs.


Thanks for the questions you're proposing; I will plan out a call to the timeshare company to ask those questions.
 

DaveNV

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Thanks for the questions you're proposing; I will plan out a call to the timeshare company to ask those questions.

You and your Dad may have the same name, but your SSNs are different. So you are not him. Legally, the timeshare can only pursue the recorded owner of the timeshare, or their estate. If there was no will or probate, I don't see how they can claim you now own the timeshare.

As others have said, (and I said initially) I'd stop paying the fees. If you do call them, be prepared for a hard pressure assault to get you to accept ownership of the timeshare. Don't fall for it. Timeshare companies want people to pay their maintenance fees. They don't care if you ever actually use the timeshare.

A slightly different tack to take with them when you call might be to ask them where to notify them that the owners are deceased, and the timeshare deed has been abandoned.

Either way, good luck! It's a sticky situation to be in.

Dave
 

wackymother

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You've gotten good advice here, and again, it seems like creditors and credit agencies should be able to tell that you and your father are separate people! I just want to add...are you planning to take out a mortgage or get any kind of loan soon? If not, I wouldn't worry too much. Even if this lowers your credit rating (and Grammarhero has compiled info that shows it might not have an impact), so what?
 

MPrince

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I am NOT a lawyer.

The way I see it (and this is just my opinion), you made two mistakes: Not notifying the timeshare company of your parents passing, and paying the maintenance fees for six years. Neither of these mistakes transferred ownership of the timeshare to you. You do not own the timeshare and have no legal obligations with respect to the timeshare. You can simply stop paying the maintenance fees without consequences IMO.

I would call the timeshare company, tell them your parents passed away six years ago and you have mistakenly paid the maintenance fees since then, not realizing what they were for. Ask for a refund of the fees you mistakenly paid. Maybe even get your lawyer to send them a letter demanding a refund.

You won't get a refund, of course, but it won't hurt to try.
 

elaine

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Even if they wanted to, the HOA cannot accept a deedback because your parents are deceased and cannot sign the deed. The HOA likely cannot do a "non-judicial" foreclosure (they cannot in FL) against deceased persons either. The HOA or TS management company will have to foreclose on your parents due to nonpayment of fees. It will take about 1-2 years. They will send letters, certified letters, etc. to your parents. Just make sure you do not accept any certified letters and just write deceased. Finally, you'll get letters from the Clerk of the Court with court date for anyone who wants to contest the foreclosure, etc. Then you'll get a final judgement in the mail. In theory, they could try to get the judgment against any holdings of your parents. In reality, most TS just sue to get the deed back (In Rem proceeding). This is a large TS operation, so they likely have an atty who does bulk foreclosures. Others are correct, you don't own the TS. Having same name. address is tricky-so be sure to check credit ratings and be prepared to show documents that TS is in your parent's name.
 

TUGBrian

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bottom line, do not pay the 2021 maint fees or any future fees!
 

chapjim

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I am not an attorney, so this is just my opinion:

If your name does not appear anywhere on the contract or in the timeshare company's records, I'd say you should just stop paying the fees. They will try to collect delinquent fees from your parents, who are deceased. I don't see how you could be held liable for things, if you never accepted ownership of the timeshare and/or if the deed was never put into your name. If they are sending the bills to you in your name, how do they show you are responsible? If they're sending the bills to your parents' names and you're paying the bills, that doesn't necessarily indicate acceptance of the ownership. if it goes to foreclosure, the resort will have no choice but to take it back, no matter what they said in the letter to you.

I'd call the resort and ask to speak to the business office (or whoever) handles this sort of thing. Heirs are not required to accept ownership of timeshares owned be a decedent. The thing to find out is who the resort thinks you are, relative to the deeded timeshare. The second question to ask is precisely what does that one sentence reply mean?

Dave

I'm with Dave. You have no obligation to make any payment whatsoever. You are not an owner and never have been. The HOA should be happy to have received six years of maintenance fees they didn't deserve.

You were nice and they weren't. I would stop paying, ignore phone calls, emails, snail mail from the HOA. If you are contacted by a collection agency, explain the situation and ask them to leave you alone. If the collection agency persists, come back here again and someone can walk you through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

I am an attorney but I'm not YOUR attorney so this isn't legal advice either.
 

Fasttr

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Why not consult with the attorney you spoke to 2 months ago as to best next steps.
 

NOLA47

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Would there be a greater impact if the communication to the timeshare company came from her attorney?
 

rickandcindy23

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Dave gave you the best advice.
 

qwerty

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TUG,

This is my first post. I have a problem and I hope someone can guide me in the right direction.

My parents died about 6 and 9 years ago, respectively. They had no will or estate. I am their only child.

They owned a timeshare; bought in 1990; fully paid for; only annual maintenance fees remained which they paid every year.

The timeshare contract and deed has only their names and signatures. Not mine. This is important.

Since 2014, I committed an original sin: I have been paying the timeshare fee only because I was not sure what to do. I saw a bill, I paid a bill, simple as that. In the back of my mind, I thought that if I ever wanted to visit the timeshare, I should at least keep it out of delinquency.

This year, I have come to the conclusion that I will never visit this timeshare.

So, two months ago, I consulted an attorney to look at the timeshare deed and contract.

His conclusion was that my name is not on any timeshare contract or deed. I do not own the timeshare, and I did not inherit the timeshare from my parents.

Immediately following my meeting with the attorney, I sent a letter to the timeshare company, with death certificates, requesting a surrender. I stated specifically that I am not the owner of the timeshare, regardless of the fact that I rather stupidly paid the annual dues for 6 years. I also stated specifically that I have never visited the timeshare property myself. I may have paid the fees, but no, I have never used it.

Today, two months later, I have received a letter from the timeshare saying that the Board has not approved my request. That is literally all it says:

"Unfortunately the Board has not approved your request."

No details.

I don't understand. The owners of the timeshare are dead. I don't own the timeshare. So what if I paid them money to give me time to think. Although I paid the fees, I have never used the timeshare myself, and I put that in the letter. My mistake for giving them free money for 6 years.


Can anyone offer any advice here? I kept this first post short, and I will gladly add any details to this post to help your answers.

If the next step is for the timeshare company to foreclose on the timeshare, what happens when a company tries to foreclose on deceased owners?

Is there any way that this can impact my credit? Again, the timeshare deed and contact was signed by my parents in 1990, not me. I was still in college in 1990.




Thanks,
Fred
A membership timeshare such as Disney, Hilton, etc. may be different.
But a deeded timeshare cannot just be given away.
In order for you to become an owner, the deed would need to be recorded in your name at the county and then sent to the resort.
Many if not all resorts will not transfer "ownership" unless a transfer fee is paid so I don't know how or why they would even consider you the owner.
Some of the above is why many are "stuck" with their timeshare.
Even if the resort considers you the owner, they cannot successfully list you on any credit bureau because they don't have your S/S #, etc.
Over the past ten years, I have personally communicated with many timeshare owners who just stopped paying their maintenance fee and never once had anything show up on their credit report.
Contrary to how some will respond to this, if you have not signed a contract with the resort, you are not responsible.
 

elaine

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again, since the owners are deceased, I do not think the TS can "take back" the TS even if they wanted to. There is no one to sign the deed. If the estate had an executor, then he would have authority to sign. The only way to transfer ownership is via a foreclosure proceeding. The TS is not being "mean," it's just the only option under the law. A fixed week TS interest is essentially real estate with a "real" deed that has to be signed by the owner to transfer membership to you, the HOA, TS management company, etc.
 

CherylD

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I am an Estates Attorney, and I like some of the advice you've been given, but some states, like the one I practice in, NC, we have laws that mandate that the title to the real estate vests immediately upon death to the heirs, without probate. So, you may already own this property. I don't know the law in SC regarding real estate, but sometimes it makes sense to get your attorney to write to the Timeshare asking for a resolution. There are also attorney who exclusively handle timeshare matters such as yours. Best wishes.
 

vacationtime1

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I am an Estates Attorney, and I like some of the advice you've been given, but some states, like the one I practice in, NC, we have laws that mandate that the title to the real estate vests immediately upon death to the heirs, without probate. So, you may already own this property. I don't know the law in SC regarding real estate, but sometimes it makes sense to get your attorney to write to the Timeshare asking for a resolution. There are also attorney who exclusively handle timeshare matters such as yours. Best wishes.

How does that show up in a title search? What happens when there are multiple heirs? OP's parents' timeshare was not jointly titled with OP.

(Besides, the property is in SC, not NC, so NC law is irrelevant, even if OP lives there)
 

Arusso

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TUG,

This is my first post. I have a problem and I hope someone can guide me in the right direction.

My parents died about 6 and 9 years ago, respectively. They had no will or estate. I am their only child.

They owned a timeshare; bought in 1990; fully paid for; only annual maintenance fees remained which they paid every year.

The timeshare contract and deed has only their names and signatures. Not mine. This is important.

Since 2014, I committed an original sin: I have been paying the timeshare fee only because I was not sure what to do. I saw a bill, I paid a bill, simple as that. In the back of my mind, I thought that if I ever wanted to visit the timeshare, I should at least keep it out of delinquency.

This year, I have come to the conclusion that I will never visit this timeshare.

So, two months ago, I consulted an attorney to look at the timeshare deed and contract.

His conclusion was that my name is not on any timeshare contract or deed. I do not own the timeshare, and I did not inherit the timeshare from my parents.

Immediately following my meeting with the attorney, I sent a letter to the timeshare company, with death certificates, requesting a surrender. I stated specifically that I am not the owner of the timeshare, regardless of the fact that I rather stupidly paid the annual dues for 6 years. I also stated specifically that I have never visited the timeshare property myself. I may have paid the fees, but no, I have never used it.

Today, two months later, I have received a letter from the timeshare saying that the Board has not approved my request. That is literally all it says:

"Unfortunately the Board has not approved your request."

No details.

I don't understand. The owners of the timeshare are dead. I don't own the timeshare. So what if I paid them money to give me time to think. Although I paid the fees, I have never used the timeshare myself, and I put that in the letter. My mistake for giving them free money for 6 years.


Can anyone offer any advice here? I kept this first post short, and I will gladly add any details to this post to help your answers.

If the next step is for the timeshare company to foreclose on the timeshare, what happens when a company tries to foreclose on deceased owners?

Is there any way that this can impact my credit? Again, the timeshare deed and contact was signed by my parents in 1990, not me. I was still in college in 1990.




Thanks,
Fred
You have been given some sound advice on this forum by people who are quite knowledgeable on the subject matter of your inquiry - including an attorney. Here's my take on this.

As the owner of a small business, employer, executive and licensed professional, I have learned that getting things sorted out properly the first time will save you a lot of grief down the road. There is an expression lawyers use to describe various business transactions when it comes to legal services: "You can pay now, or you can pay later." Paying your lawyer now will cost less.

If your personal attorney is versed in real estate and estate law, I would ask him / her to respond to the letter you received by the HOA. BTW, knowledge of the nuances of state law (in particular, South Carolina) may be necessary - but not always obligatory to obtain the desired result. [If this is not the case, you can query someone on this forum for a referral.]

The response from your attorney to the letter you received from the HOA declining to accept your offer to surrender the Deed would clearly state the actual situation with regard to any succession responsibility you have citing applicable state law. Once it is stipulated that you have no future obligation (or anyone else for that matter) to assume "proxy ownership" and the responsibilities that it entails, the matter should be resolved in that the HOA would be receiving a deeded ownership which they can resell. Lastly, by being represented by counsel and counsel directing the HOA to send all future inquiries regarding this matter be his / her you attention, you will be spared all sorts of potentially inciteful or threatening correspondence.

Lastly, I'm sorry for your loss and thank you for willingness to share your predicament with the wonderful people on this forum. As such, we can all learn from each other's escapades. The lesson to be learned is obvious - i.e. that when someone owns any sort of material assets and especially real estate, a Will is desirable and estate planning is a must. Not doing so leaves a nightmare for the surviving family members.

The best of luck and Happy Holidays
 

CharlesS

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I am an Estates Attorney, and I like some of the advice you've been given, but some states, like the one I practice in, NC, we have laws that mandate that the title to the real estate vests immediately upon death to the heirs, without probate. .

Very Interesting. Permit me to pose a hypothetical.

Assume I am a very old person with a very small pension that expires on my death. I live in NC. My wife is deceased but I have one living son. I have sold all of my valuable belongings except my old house and old, worn out furniture (but not old enough to be antiques). The house does sit on a valuable piece of real estate ($250,000). I owe $20,000 to the credit card company. I now have a heart attack and die immediately.

If I understand correctly, the house and land goes immediately to my son (since I live in NC). That means that my estate would only be my furniture (in Wisconsin furniture is not real estate, I don't know about NC) and my old clothes. So my estate has $20,000 in debts and essentially worthless assets.

Question: Is the credit card company stuck with an noncollectable $20,000?

Thank you, Charles
 
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Not a lawyer but have been trustee and executor for several estates.
A time share is real property and is dealt with by the laws of the state in which the property is - in this case South Carolina (SC). So the laws of SC apply.
By your history your folks died intestate (no will) and you opened no probate case but appeared to function as the executor or Personal representative.
The good news for you is that South Carolina has a small estate rule (less than $25K- easily found on the web.)
Per my search property in SC cannot pass without probate.
First - look up the property on the county tax rolls - who has been paying the property tax over the last few years? Is it part of the MF or paid separately?
If not paid it could have already been sold at auction - then you are off the hook - and then for sure quit paying the MF as neither you or your folks own the property.
The timeshare is just sending a bill to the last known owner and if you pay then...
If your folks are still shown as the owner then-
Cleanest way to fix this- and a word to the wise for all folks that just ignoring things as an executor is not the best choice- is to
1. Get on the web look up the county of the timeshare
2. Get the form to file a small estate probate in that county-fill it out and send it in
3. As the child you most likely inhertied the property (again SC law rules and worth a look )
4. As you dont want the property do a letter to yourself - actually to you as executor and disclaim the inheritance.
5. Send copy of the court record showing you are the personal representative of the estate, death certificate of mom, dad, and a letter stating that the property has been disclaimed by all benificiaries - so ownership reverts to the time share.
You have functioned as the executor of your folks estate for several years - paid bills - prob. not the best idea especially if you have been using your money and not the estates. I do not know the risk of the timeshare coming after the executor of an estate for funds but ...
Most states have no interest in doing formal probate of these small estates and make lots of tools available on the web to deal with the issues.
Good things to look up on the web are - small estate - SC and disclaiming property in SC
If after reading this pages and are do not feel confident then finding a lawyer in SC as CherylD recomended and this can be cleaned up quickly
 

mcara00

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I am not an attorney but live in SC and have served many years on my community's BOD where we dealt with many delinquencies for failure to pay required community fees. Communities in SC have very little legal leverage in dealing with failure to pay community-related fees. We largely gave up trying expensive legal remedies other than placing liens on the property that only allowed us to get in line for payment when the property was eventually sold. If you are not a bank, financing company or credit card company, it is not easy to get the credit agencies to accept a report on someone for a delinquency. I don't disagree with suggestions that you take steps with your attorney to resolve the situation - but just keep in mind that based on my experiences in my community - there isn't much the TS community can do under SC law except threaten unless you own other property in SC that can also be liened. SC is quite friendly to property owners and less so to communities who are owed fees.

We have had several instances of residents passing who left property and heirs disclaimed the property. Those properties all eventually went into a tax sale or were foreclosed by a bank. I am not aware of any instance where an heir was automatically the owner.
 
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