“As if you could kill time without hurting eternity.” -Henry David Thoreau

Perpetuity: The quality or condition of being perpetual.

There are many things we wish would last forever: the latest book by your favorite author, a perfect evening with family and friends, the youth and innocence of a newborn baby. These things have a timeless quality that, though short-lived, we carry with us as treasured memories for a lifetime. Other things, we are stuck for eternity whether we like it or not.

You may not have realized it at the time, but if you signed a dead timeshare contract, you were committing yourself to a potential financial nightmare from which there is no easy escape. Most timeshare contracts are written with a “perpetuity clause” that makes your contract almost impossible to break. Timeshare sellers insist that this element of the contract is vital to ensuring that you and your offspring enjoy eternal ownership of such a valuable asset. But what this really means is that after you buy your timeshare, you will have to pay all the costs related to your timeshare for the rest of the contract, which is permanent. When you pass, the responsibility for maintaining these fees will be assigned to your next of kin.

Family members usually don’t want property passed on to them for some critical reasons. In recent years, timeshare occupancy has steadily declined due to a struggling economy and unfair business practices on behalf of resort developers. As the number of buyers dwindles, resorts raise maintenance fees arbitrarily and well above the rate of inflation to mitigate their losses. In fact, the average annual cost of timeshare maintenance fees was $674 in 2008. Based on 2011 figures, that number has now risen to $776 each year. That’s a 17% increase in just two years!

In addition to the astronomical maintenance fees, the value of your timeshare drops dramatically the instant you buy it. Therefore, in the unlikely event that you are able to sell your timeshare, you will only be able to do so after sustaining a significant loss. Taken together, two factors make selling a timeshare extremely difficult; people just don’t want to shoulder your financial burden in the same way that you don’t want to continue to suffer from it.

So if you’ve signed a contract that makes you and your family permanent owners of the property, what are your options? Well, resale listing companies have very little incentive to make good on their promise to sell your property; most donation options are scams that will land you in trouble with the IRS; and not meeting your timeshare obligations will lead to foreclosure which will destroy your credit.

Your best bet is to transfer your timeshare to a third-party transfer company to ensure an affordable, convenient, and resolved timeshare sale.

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