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The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield, Attorneys  Personal Injury & Property Damage, Las Vegas, NV

Probate of a Timeshare

Real estate always has to be probated in the state in which it is located. Unfortunately, this means that a Las Vegas timeshare has to be probated in Nevada even if the person who died lived in another state and had a probate in that state. For example, a Wisconsin resident dies owning a timeshare in Las Vegas's Tahiti Village. Because the timeshare is Nevada real estate, title must be transferred to the heir in a Nevada ancillary probate proceeding even though the main probate was done in Wisconsin.

Costs of Probating a Timeshare:

In Nevada the procedure for probating a timeshare is called a "Set Aside w/o Administration" and it is the same procedure used for estates under $100,000. (Most timeshares are worth less than $25,000, but the simplified Nevada probate procedure for estates less than $25,000 doesn't apply if there is real estate--and timeshares are considered real estate.)

One big advantage of the "Set Aside w/o Administration" is that there is no executor or administrator and therefore no discrimination against an out of state administrator. The person signing the Petition to Set Aside Without Administration does not have to reside in Nevada.

A petition is filed and a court date is set. Notice is given to creditors or potential creditors and next of kin. If all of the paperwork is correct and no one objects at the hearing, the judge signs an order at the hearing and the proceeding is largely finished.

Our fee to do this, if no one contests the proposed distribution, is either $1,900 which includes all Nevada government costs except the real estate transfer tax which usually does not apply. See Nevada Real Estate Transfer Tax. We hope this makes probating the timeshare affordable. However, if there are more than 3 people who must be given notice of the proceeding, then there will be a charge of $10 for each additional person beyond three. People who must be given notice are those people who would inherit in the absence of a will (even if there is a will) and those people mentioned in the will as beneficiaries. There is an additional fee of $100 for each additional timeshare.

There will usually be a $3-$6 charge for a certified copy of the court's order and a $20-$22 filing fee to file the court's order changing ownership of the real estate with the County Recorder's Office and various E-Filing Fees if the timeshare property is in Clark County which includes Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite. Our fees and the government fees are included in our flat rates in Clark County of exactly $1,900, and not counting the possibility of Death Transfer Fees

In addition, the timeshare company usually charges its own fee--typically anywhere from $50-$599--to transfer ownership. Thus, the total cost for the transfer is usually around $1950-$2495. Most people will not be able to probate a timeshare without hiring an attorney. The lawyers in our firm are familiar with the probate court and can do these probates quickly.

By charging a flat rate for an uncontested timeshare probate we hope to be your discount, affordable, high quality, low cost probate lawyer. Many attorneys charge by the hour for any kind of probate work. We feel that we can be high quality and lost cost at the same time because we do a lot of timeshare probate.

Three Additional Charges that May Apply to Your Timeshare Probate:

Note: If there is more than one timeshare, add a $100 fee for each additional timeshare. About $20-$25 of this will be recording and government fees while the other $75-$80 will be a legal fee. This additional $100 does not include whatever fee the timeshare company charges as a transfer fee.

Note: In a lot of cases Mom and Dad own the timeshare. Dad dies first and no one bothers to change the title. After Mom dies there is a probate to transfer title to the children. In this case we first have to filed Dad's death certificate with the County Recorder along with an Affidavit so that Mom owns it 100% and then the Probate Court can transfer from Mom to the children. In this situation add a $100 for each additional timeshare.

Note: We are required to give notice of the probate proceeding to all person who are listed as beneficiaries if there is a will and to all persons who would inherit in the absence of a will, even if there is a will. If the number of people who must be given notice exceeds 3, we charge an extra $10 for each person over 3 who must be given notice.

Note on Different Timeshare Companies: Typically, once we record a certified Probate Court Order with the County Recorder transferring title to person entitled under the will, we mail this document to our client who then contacts the timeshare company, pays the timeshare company's title transfer fee, and usually has no problems. If there is a problem we get re-involved. Our favorite timeshare company is Club Tahoe Resort Owners because:

  1. They charge a low fee of $50 to transfer title, and
  2. It is very easy to reach them by phone with any questions.

What Paperwork do you Need for a Nevada Ancillary Probate Proceeding for a Timeshare?

If the main probate is in another state you will need the following for the Nevada ancillary probate proceeding:

If the Person Died with a Will:


  1. An original certified (raised seal) copy of a death certificate
  2. a) Certified copy of the will admitted to probate in another state, OR
    b) The original will to be filed in Clark County
  3. Certified copy of the order admitting the will to probate in another state,
  4. Certified copy of Letters appointing personal representative in another state,
    (NOTE: Items 3) and 4) are in a sense redundant. BUT MANY NEVADA PROBATE COURTS, ESPECIALLY THE CLARK COUNTY PROBATE COURT, INSIST ON CERTIFIED COPIES OF BOTH. One or both of these items may be signed by a court official who is not a judge; certified copies are still needed.) (The fees charged by out of state courts or agencies for these certified documents is not included in our flat fee.)
  5. Legal description of the timeshare, usually given to the purchaser in the purchase packet, and
  6. Some proof of value of the timeshare. Ideally, the timeshare company will write a letter giving the approximate value; if the timeshare company will not, the executor or administrator can go online and find a listing of similar timeshare and their asking prices.

Note: Occasionally it happens that a person who died and lived in another state never has their will admitted to probate or filed in their home state because all of their property except the Nevada timeshare passed outside of probate through a trust or joint or payable on death accounts. If this is the case, in order to probate the Nevada timeshare, we file the original will in Nevada and therefore need only items 1), 2b), 5) and 6).

Note: Sometimes items 2a), 3), and 4) can be omitted if the inheritance would be the same with or without the will. For example, Mom, an unmarried widow dies and her will leaves everything equally to her two adult children. This is the same result as would happen without a will. In such a case the Court may allow us proceed as if she died without a will. In that case we would only need file-stamped copies of the will, not all of the certified copies.

If the Person Died without a Will:


  1. Either an original certified (raised seal) copy of a death certificate (or, in Clark County only, a good quality photocopy)
  2. Certified copy of Order appointing Personal Representative in another state.
  3. Certified copy of Letters of Administration for the Personal Representative
  4. Legal description of the timeshare, usually given to the purchaser in the purchase packet, and
  5. Some proof of value of the timeshare. Ideally, the timeshare company will write a letter giving the approximate value; if the timeshare company will not, the executor or administrator can go online and find a listing of similar timeshare and their asking prices.

Note: If the person who died and lived in another state did not have a will and there was no probate proceeding in that other state, then we can skip items 2) and 3) immediately above.

Whether the Person Died with or without a Will:


The following biographical data will be required of the person seeking to be administrator or executor: birth date, residential address, and phone number. If there are two co-executors or two co-administrators the above information is required of both. In addition, the date of birth of the decedent is required. (This is included on American death certificates, but not necessarily on death certificates from other countries.)

Value of Timeshare and Proof of Parent Child Relationship:


Nevada courts generally accept internet listings of similar units for sale as a way to determine the value of the timeshare. If the person inheriting the timeshare is not a child or parent or spouse of the person who died, and there was no will, there will be a real estate transfer tax due and proof of value of the timeshare will also be required for the County Recorder's office; if this is not provided, the County Assessor's office will supply a value. If the child of the decedent has the same last name as the decedent, this will generally suffice to prove the relationship. However, if the Decedent's last name does not match the adult child's last name, the Recorder's Office will demand to see copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses etc. to be satisfied that a parent child relationship exists between two people with different last names.  See Death Transfer Fees for more details.

 

Complications of Timeshare Probates--No Administration:

The "Set Aside w/o Administration" procedure discussed above does not apply if there is a sale of the timeshare during the probate proceeding. (If the timeshare is to be sold during the probate, the Probate Court wants the much more expensive "Summary Administration" procedure used.) So, if the heir getting the timeshare is going to sell it, there are two options to use the cheaper, faster "Set Aside w/o Administration" probate procedure. First, the heir can just take title and then sell after the probate. The only big downside is that there will be two transfer fees to the timeshare company. Also there will be second Clark County Recording fee, but this will often only be an extra $18-$20. Alternatively, the heir can sell the property before the Nevada probate proceeding and assign his or her interest to the purchaser in the probate proceeding. This works well if the heir and purchaser know and trust each other; it is a more cumbersome process if the heir and purchaser are strangers. Another problem is if the will divides the estate among many different heirs and not every heir will agree to a re-assignment.

Complications of Timeshare Probates--Changing Legal Descriptions:

Typically our client has a deed from when their parents bought the timeshare. The deed contains a legal description. Unlike the situation with houses and condos, the Clark County Recorder delegates legal records of timeshares to the timeshare company. Thus, anyone can go online and view the legal description of a house or condo, but no one except the timeshare company can go online and determine for certain the current legal description of a timeshare. Legal descriptions of a timeshare can change for atleast two reasons:

  1. A new company can take over the timeshares and re-do the legal descriptions, and
  2. After the deed is issued there can be subsequent amendments to the various documents the timeshare company files with the County which are part of the legal description.

Some timeshare companies are very helpful in taking our phone call to verify the current legal description. But sometimes with the larger timeshare companies it can be difficult to get an updated legal description.

One of the advantages of our flat rate is that we don't charge extra for working out this type of complication even though an honest lawyer working on an hourly rate would have every right and reason to charge extra for this complication. (Because we do a lot of timeshare probates we may have the updated legal description in our data base.) So, if all you have is the legal description of the timeshare on the deed and you can't get an updated legal description, we will use the deed description in the Order we get from the Probate Court and if the timeshare company then says the legal description is out of date, we will get an Amended Court Order for you without charge.

Avoiding Timeshare Transfer Cost by Estate Planning:

Part of the salespitch for a timeshare is that the timeshare would be a nice thing to leave to your children or other loved ones. The salesperson never mentions the expense of an ancillary probate proceeding in another state. If you own a timeshare and have a trust, we urge you to re-title the timeshare in the name of the trust to avoid an ancillary probate when you die.

If you Have to Do a Timeshare Probate: Planning Ahead:

If you have to bear the expense of a timeshare probate, think ahead to prevent the need for another probate when the person inheriting the timeshare dies. Suppose a married man with children inherits a timeshare. In the same probate proceeding that would transfer the timeshare to the married man, the timeshare could instead be transferred to the married man and his wife and children as joint tenants. Then, if the married man died, his wife or his children could get the timeshare without a probate.

Normally, a husband and wife would not want to own their home--if they paid for it--as joint tenants with their adult children because if their children incurred debts, the children's creditors might be able to go after the home. Because timeshares are generally worth relatively little, the fear of creditors going after the interest of a joint tenant is not that serious, but the cost of probating a timeshare is large in comparison to its value.

There is extra paperwork involved in getting the court to order that the timeshare be transferred not simply to the heir but to the heir and additional people or even to someone other than the heir. (For example, in one of our recent cases a single woman died without a will; under the law her mother inherited her timeshare. But, her mother didn't want it. Instead her brother and his wife took it with the mother's consent.) In addition, it sometimes happens that a timeshare is given to two or more people and everyone gives up their interest to one person (or to one person and his or her spouse). If the timeshare is to go to a person or couple not exactly designated in the will we charge an extra $75.

If You Don't Want the Timeshare:

Many timeshares are worth keeping to enjoy or to sell. But if you don't like to travel or the timeshare doesn't fit into your travel plans, it's not for you. If this is your situation, your first step should be to go online and see what similar timeshares are selling for in the resale market. If you think you can sell the timeshare for more than the cost of probate, probating the timeshare makes sense. But what if the resale value is so low that it doesn't seem to make sense to pay for probate and sell the timeshare? Can you dump a timeshare through a probate? The answer may be yes, but the answer is complicated because usually the owner who died lives outside of Nevada so there are two probates involved: the Nevada timeshare ancillary probate and the main probate in the state or country where the owner lived. Usually there is a lawyer involved with the main probate. Ask that lawyer if the state law of the state the decedent was a resident of has a procedure for cutting off creditors who fail to respond in a timely fashion to various deadlines. If the main estate lawyer says there is no way to cut off the timeshare creditor (for the annual maintenance fees which will start piling up), call the timeshare company and see if it will take back the timeshare. It may require that you do a Nevada ancillary probate of the timeshare to get title so you can deed it back to the timeshare company. In that case the timeshare will have zero value so we can do the probate without a filing fee (assuming the timeshare is in Clark County).

If you don't get the timeshare company cut out in the main probate proceeding and just ignore the whole timeshare situation--say your mom owned the timeshare and you are the only heir--the timeshare company might be able to go after you for any money you inherited from the timeshare owner. Whether it would try to do so is questionable.

Is a Timeshare Really Real Estate?

We sometimes hear the argument that a timeshare is really an annual contract for a given number of points which can be used to stay at various properties throughout the world. However, every Nevada timeshare we have seen is a fractional ownership in an actual property in Nevada with a County's Assessor's Parcel Number. Even if this fractional ownership in Nevada real estate translates into a given number of annual points that can be used at many different locations outside of Nevada it is still considered Nevada real estate and the timeshare company will require a probate if the original owner(s) died with the timeshare being transferred before death out of the names of the original owner(s).