Q: Great grandmother's property going into lien foreclosure in 2 wks. If I pay taxes, can I sell the property.
Great grandmother died in 1985. Left property as heir property. My mother held power of attorney. My great-uncle attempted to sell the property. He couldn't b/c the heirs never paid my great-grandmother's attorney for the work he did. As such, the deed was never transferred to the heirs. Taxes are due in two weeks and I do not want the property to be lost. BUT, I also do not want to lose the money (my family will not pay me back) an I do not want to spend another 30 years w/this property abandoned.
Thank you for the answers. I may have to call one of you to pursue this matter further.
Please note that the original attorney is a wonderful person. Very old school. Out of respect for my great-grandmother, he didn't want to take the family to court to recover his fees.
The will was probated in 1987 and is now closed.
I will pay the taxes and work with a lawyer (maybe one of you) to request that I become PR.
A: There are steps between the taxes being due and a foreclosure sale, but those steps vary by jurisdiction. The short answer is that paying the taxes does not buy the title for you. Unless the actual title owners agree, it buys you nothing but a dubious claim for contribution, and that is limited if you are not a current owner or occupant. You could bid at the tax auction, if that is the stage you are at, and buy the tax certificate (or whatever that is called in your jurisdiction). That could eventually lead you to title without the liens of the prior lawyer or any claims by the heirs. You might be willing to bid more than the commercial investors buying such properties at auction, because you have been inside and know the value of this house. But, you have no special status in that merely because you are a descendent of the title owner. What you need to do is get to a lawyer for a consult immediately to determine the status of this property, the liens on the property, and whether there is a strategy for you to get consent of your relatives or permission of a court handling a reopened probate to sell the property.
Thomas C. Valkenet agrees with this answer
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A: Short answer: anyone can pay back the taxes (and reimbursable expenses if the property has gone to tax sale) to redeem the property. Paying the taxes does not change ownership.
Long answer: Only a personal representative can sell the property (or convey it out of the estate). An attorney generally gets paid out of the estate. If an estate closed over 30 years ago, the first step would be to check the estate to see who the attorney was and ascertain if the court ordered any legal fees. My firm has prepared deeds for long-closed estates and this can be done, but again one needs to check the estate to determine what, if anything, is owed out of the estate before the property disburses. Things can get complicated if many years have passed and some of the heirs are themselves now deceased.
As another attorney noted, letting the property go to tax sale and bidding at option is an option, albeit with some risks. There is no guarantee who will be the highest bidder at auction. If an interested family member wins, they would still need to go through a process of tax sale foreclosure to try and get the property. This would necessarily involve serving interested family members / personal representative of the estate of the deceased owner.
While the above is not legal advice, I hope that it helps. You are encouraged to seek legal advice and sit down with an attorney who can look at the estate and deed and offer suggestions.
1 user found this answer helpful
A: You can pay, but you will be deemed a volunteer, which means nobody will have to pay you back. Your course of action is through the probate proceeding to replace the old personal representative, who failed to have the prior deed recorded, or to safe guard estate property. You may, or may not be appointed successor. Yours is not an unusual situation, except that you have also described an attorney who may have failed to act.
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A: Are you supposed to receive a share of this property under the estate? If so, you are an “interested person” with standing to petition the court for relief. Essentially, you will be asking to remove the existing personal representative of the now closed estate for failure to perform their duties to convey an asset of the estate, and appoint you or someone else to do so. Fronting the property taxes when you have an interest will more than likely allow you to successfully petition or sue to be reimbursed even if you are not ultimately named PR. It is crazy for the other heirs to refuse to agree in advance to reimburse you for saving the property — but if the issue is that they have no money or don’t want to go out of pocket, they can at least agree to grant you an interest or lien in the property for the amount you advance.
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