Riverside, CA asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for California

Q: I live in my Sister's house for 15 years. My sister died and left no will but agreed to leave it to me. Help!

The county wants to auction the house for unpaid taxes. I am a veteran and on a fixed income. I want to stop the county from selling the property which I consider mine because my sister left it to me if not legally then orally. What can I do?

3 Lawyer Answers
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL

A: Unless your name is on the deed or unless you have some other written document going to prove your deceased sister's intent, at this very late point in the foreclosure process your best (perhaps only) bet might be to attend the auction and bid on the house.

Thomas A. Grossman
Thomas A. Grossman
  • Palm Springs, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Unfortunately, an oral promise concerning real property is invalid. The deed to the property must have your name on it for you to claim an interest in the property. Be sure there is no Will from your sister. She may have drafted one and you don't know about it. Good Luck.

A: You're going to have to pay the taxes or the property will be auctioned.

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