Moorestown, NJ asked in Family Law, Tax Law, Municipal Law and Real Estate Law for New Jersey

Q: How do property taxes work on unregistered houses on one piece of land in Puerto Rico through inheritance?

My grandfather has past away leaving my grandmother as sole owner of the land with the main house being registered and current with property taxes. There are three siblings my mother, a middle brother (who sadly also past), and a younger brother. The younger brother convinced my grandfather when he was not well to give him his inheritance while still living his via a notary. So my grandfather signed and he built a house but never registered the house with CRIM. My grandmother was just made aware of this and is concerned about the possibility of backed taxes on the the unregistered house for 20 years plus. What is the correct legal course of action to correct this situation especially since her signature was not included on the notarized document and her name appears on all the deeds to the original property?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Puerto Rico, property taxes are assessed by the Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM). When a house on a piece of land isn't registered with CRIM, it can indeed lead to complications, including the potential for back taxes once the property is properly reported. Given that your grandmother has only recently become aware of the unregistered house built by her younger son, it's important to address this issue promptly to mitigate any financial implications.

The fact that the notarized document granting inheritance rights to your uncle was signed without your grandmother's consent, especially if her name is on all the deeds, could be significant. This situation might require legal rectification to ensure that any transfer of property rights was done in accordance with Puerto Rican law, which often requires the consent of all legal owners.

The best course of action would be for your grandmother to consult with a legal professional experienced in Puerto Rican property and inheritance law. This attorney can review the deeds, the notarized document, and any other relevant documentation to advise on the best path forward. This might involve registering the house with CRIM and addressing any potential back taxes or contesting the transfer if it was not legally executed. Legal counsel can provide tailored advice to protect your grandmother's interests and ensure compliance with local regulations.

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