Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Pennsylvania

Q: My grandmother died and left her land to her children they have not paid land tax for 5 years do I have rights if I pay

The land was willed to her children who are not paying the land is still in my grandmothers name

3 Lawyer Answers
Elizabeth Tarasi
Elizabeth Tarasi
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: No. If you are not one of her children you do not have any rights.

Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko
Answered
  • Allentown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: If the land is still in your grandmother’s name, that means that it is still an asset of the estate. From your question, I cannot tell if the Will was ever probated and an estate opened. If not, this would have to happen first.

Since the land is an asset of the estate, the estate is responsible for the taxes. The beneficiaries are not responsible for the taxes unless and until the land is transferred to them. However, if there are taxes owing, the land can’t really be transferred unless the taxes are paid so that the debt of the estate is cleared.

If you pay the taxes, that would be a loan to the estate, not the children. If the estate has no other assets besides the land, you will either be stuck or the land will have to be sold and the net proceeds, after payment of the taxes, or reimbursement to you, if you have paid the taxes, would then be distributed to the children. Furthermore, in order for you to even be allowed to loan money to the estate, the executor would have to agree.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL

A: Ignoring all the familial questions: In most if not all states, anyone can pay real estate taxes due on anyone's property.

After so many years, the taxing authority will issue tax deeds encumbering the property until paid.

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