Baltimore, MD asked in Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Maryland

Q: In case adult child added to house deed, should he/she pay taxes on house?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered

A: There is no legal requirement for all owners named in the deed to pay all or any portion of the real estate taxes. On the other hand, there is no reason why all owners should not share in the tax burden either.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Is the adult child living in the house? Many people jointly own real property, and the owners share costs of ownership as well as the benefits (living there or rental income received). If the adult child was added primarily for estate planning purposes and does not live there, but the parents live there, then the parents get the benefit of use and possession of the house. They should pay all the costs and expenses. If on the other hand the child is living there, or sharing rental income received on the property, then maybe he should pay a pro rata share. When one owner pays more than their fair share of the costs, they have a legal right to sue the other owner(s) for contribution toward the costs. There is no law per se, just claims for contribution from a joint owner who shares the benefits of ownership but refuses the burdens. Of course, in a dispute like this, the owner who wants contribution toward costs needs to be careful what they ask for: a joint owner can judicially force the sale of a property to get their share out of it, and the other owners cannot stop that from happening. So, if there is a suit for contribution, there will likely be a counter-suit for sale of the property, and any amounts owed for contribution would simply be deducted from that owner’s share of the sale proceeds.

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