Saint Stephen, SC asked in Estate Planning for South Carolina

Q: How does a life estate deed work? Who puts the deed in the reminders name when life tenant dies

2011 my father passed away 2 properties left to me in a life estate. mother lived there until 2015. I moved there 2015. the property taxes were behind. tax office told me I had to pay back taxes before I could put deed in my name couldn't afford to pay the back taxes ($8000 for 2015 & 2016) but was told as long as they were in a life estate they would not be auctioned off for back taxes. I tried twice to get the taxes reduced to 4% as owner occupied on the house I lived in but couldn't because it was not in my name. This would have lowered my taxes from $2500 to $700 a year. couldn't afford to pay the back taxes which by 2017 was $18,009 nor could I borrow money or sell anything. Tax office is charging me at 6% every year plus fees and penalties .11/15/21 the property service received notice from auditor to remove the life estate. now its in my name with a tax bill of $36,000. I've been fighting this since 2017 still can't afford that much. Now they are selling my homes on 11/6

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: Property Taxes have nothing to do with the Title. Apparently you need to hire an attorney to search the title and determine record ownership. Usually the grantor makes one Deed conveying life estate(s) to someone, then either conveys a remainder estate to someone or retains it himself. There are many types of future interests, but that is the usual LE/REM scenario. Usually the estates are vested at deed execution, and the life tenant possesses it during his life and the remainderman vests in possession at the termination of the life estate. A County Tax Sale will destroy both estates.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.