West Palm Beach, FL asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Kentucky

Q: Probated my grandmother's estate over 10 years ago (no will,) sold property with quitclaim buyer passed did not file

Deed, still in grandmother's name. The probate was closed. I recently received notice from court of unpaid taxes and liens if I pay taxes and liens how do I transfer deed to me? Do I have to reopen probate?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY
  • Licensed in Kentucky

A: Yes. You will have to reopen probate, have an executor appointed, then transfer the property into the name of the heirs.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Based upon the facts you have provided, it looks like the buyer bought and paid for the property but failed to record the deed. That does not mean that your grandmother's estate still owns the property. All that means is that a public record of the transaction was not made. The deceased buyer's estate is the equitable owner of the property and is entitled to either find and record the unrecorded deed or petition the probate court to re-open the property in order to have another deed signed. The deceased buyer's estate is also the one that should pay the back taxes. If you pay them you may easily end up with nothing to show for it.

However, if the buyer's estate does nothing, and if your grandmother's heirs would like to buy the property back, you might be able to accomplish that by purchasing the property at the tax sale. This is not the same thing as paying the taxes. Paying the taxes does not give you title. Purchasing the property at a tax sale could result in you owning the property again, after that process is complete.

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