I was walking down the streets of Waikiki last week and it got me thinking about timeshares. You really can’t help it when in a place where I worry that everything is a come-on for a timeshare tour. We actually were staying over on the west side of Oahu at the Marriott Ko Olina timeshare. What a nice place. I highly recommend it. In particular it’s good if you have young kids. Anyway, being inundated with timeshares got me thinking about something… how many people fail to get their timeshares into their trusts? A timeshare, often, is a deeded piece of real estate. Like any other deeded piece of real estate it should be properly titled in your trust.
Let’s start with the timeshare purchase. You usually buy the timeshare on vacation at some great place; Hawaii, Orlando, Las Vegas, Colorado, etc…. You are intoxicated… be-it on booze, the sun, life or some combination of them. For me the sun of Hawaii was all I needed to feel GREAT!
So, you are high on life, walking down the beach, and they get you to go to the sales presentation. Once at the sales presentation you receive the best deal they have ever offered… but it’s only valid TODAY! You have to buy today or the deal for the free luau, 5 million Marriott points and a new toaster is gone. So, you sign on the dotted line! Hey, you tell yourself, “it’s got granite counters… and all those Marriott points….”
The fact that you have a living trust is the furthest thing from your mind at that moment. Again, you are drunk on the sun (or other) and life is too good to be thinking about your living trust. Plus, you have a timeshare salesmen offering you the deal of a lifetime and breathing down your neck… or maybe he brings in his “manager” to give you an even better deal!? You thus purchase your new timeshare in you and your spouse’s name as joint tenants with no mention of your trust. Sound familiar?
Then you both die. Sorry to be so blunt but I need to get to the punchline.
Transferring title on timeshares, after death, can be a headache. In particular, places like Hawaii have laws which can create many thousands of dollars of legal fees. It is compounded if you are a resident of another state, like California, and in some cases could create a multi-state probate!
I happen to work with an Hawaiian attorney, Jerry Garcia by name (yes, really) who is very efficient at doing after death transfers of Hawaii properties. He also will deed properties into your trust while you are alive for a very reasonable fee. However, between his legal fees, the court costs, the public records costs, the title company costs, and whatever else may be required it can cost THOUSANDS!
With all this in mind you should make sure your timeshares are properly titled in your trust. If you don’t already own one but have one too many mai tai’s next time you are in Hawaii make sure you buy your timeshare in the name of your trust. If you have had a death in the family and a timeshare needs to be transferred give us a call to help straighten it out!