Murray, KY asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Arkansas

Q: A family member died recently & owns a lot in Arkansas but is behind on his taxes. Do I need to try to recover the lot?

The lot is worth $2000 and he owes around $220 in back taxes. We are NOT probating his estate because he does not have enough assets to warrant a full probate. Can the lot be sold? Is it worth the time and money to try to recover or sell the lot? Do I just allow the property to revert to the state of AR for failure to pay taxes? He resided in TN at the time of his death. Please advise and thank you!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Columbia, TN

A: In my opinion, your decision should be based on economics, not legal factors. As you already recognize, it may not be worth the expense to do anything. In order to sell the lot, you would have to file the paperwork to administer his estate in order to get legal authority to sign the sale deed, and there is expense to that process, Then since the property is in another state, that could require an "ancillary administration" ( with more cost). Clearly, if the taxes are not paid, under TN law ( can't say about Ark) the lot will be sold ( after about 2 years), and any "excess" proceeds ( the amount in excess of the delinquent taxes) would go to the property owner, so you might just wait and either buy it yourself at the tax sale ( giving you ownership) or let a third party buy it and try to collect the excess proceeds. Hope this helps.

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