Sumter, SC asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Land Use & Zoning for Puerto Rico

Q: If a sibling passes prior to parent, are their children entitled to Puerto Rico land inheritance(1/3 law) under PR law?

My mother/aunt-in-law wish to sign over their mothers property in PR to my wife. I have several questions:

1) Their brother died prior to her grandmother, but he had children. Do they have a claim to the property? 2) I am unsure if anyone took care of the inheritance tax, as seen on Q&A page. Her grandmother passed in 1998, but her common law husband(?) lived on the property until he passed in 2009. Would we be responsible for the tax/penalties? The in-laws did have lawyers trying to work this out, but they seemed to fall away. 3) Is it true if the property was damaged during the last earthquake in Guanica and we do not repair the property, it can be taken by the government? 4) Before we move forward to signing it over and I take financial responsibility for clearing the old house , is there anyway to check the status of the property?

This could turn into a large financial burden for my wife and I, so any help you can provide would be appreciated.


Retired SMSgt, USAF

1 Lawyer Answer
Nelson Jose Francisco Alvarez-Aponte
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Carolina, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: Hello and thank you for using Justia. First off, I thank you for your services to the Armed Forces.

1) The Grand Mother is the "Causante" thus an Estate has to be created in her name. The members of the Estate are your Mother in Law, Aunt in Law and your deceased Uncle in Law. The deceased Brother in Law is represented in the Estate by his children. Thus the property in Guanica legally would belong to your Mother in Law, Aunt in Law and the children of your deceased Uncle in Law in equal parts.

2) All Taxes and certain personal debts owed by the Grandmother are now the responsability of the Estate. The members of the Estate respond for the Inheritance Taxes, Property Taxes (CRIM), Income Taxes and certain personal debts.

3) There are laws pertaining to a "Public Nuisance". If the Municipality declares the property a Public Nuisance then it can be repossesed by the Municipality. However there is a complicated Fue Process that must be complied with prior to being repossesed. Notificatión is one important part of the process.

4) You can verify any Property Tax due, status of Property Registry and any embargos or changes in possesion of the property. A visual inspectión of the property can also be done

If you need any additional information please feel free to contact me directly.

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