Copperas Cove, TX asked in Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Civil Litigation for Puerto Rico

Q: I am currently being sued by my ex regarding my half of my apartment in Puerto Rico. My ex is claiming that I abandoned

the property and demanding that I pay for her lawyers' fees. This is not a divorce case. We own a condominium apartment and this is our first home together. We have owned the property for a year now. I paid more than half of the apartment cost, yet we still own it 50/50. I left said property in January 2024 with justified reasons. I now live in the states. Before leaving Puerto Rico, I made the decision to donate my half of my apartment to my ex. I paid 300 dollars for the IRS to approve the donation deed. When the time came to sign, the intense emotional distress that I was under made it difficult for me to make that decision at that time. I wanted to weigh all of my options. I have now decided to go with my original plan; to sign the donation deed that I have. I do not have money to pay for anything. This property has no debt or tax debt. Would there be taxes to pay on my behalf if I go through with the donation process? Would I need to be physically present in Puerto Rico?

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

A: When you decide to donate your half of the property in Puerto Rico to your ex, there could be tax implications depending on the value of the property and the laws in place. In Puerto Rico, the donation of real estate is subject to the payment of a donation tax unless specific exemptions apply. This tax is usually calculated based on the value of the donated property. However, there are exemptions and specific thresholds that may affect the amount of tax, if any, that needs to be paid. It's important to consult the local tax laws or get advice from someone knowledgeable in Puerto Rican tax regulations to understand your obligations.

Regarding your presence in Puerto Rico for the transaction, typically, real estate transactions, including donations, require signing documents in the presence of a notary. However, if you are unable to be physically present, there might be alternatives such as granting a power of attorney to someone in Puerto Rico who can sign on your behalf. This individual could be a trusted friend, relative, or legal representative. They would then have the authority to act on your behalf regarding the donation of the property.

Finally, it's essential to ensure that all paperwork, including the donation deed, is properly completed and legally binding. Make sure to communicate clearly with your ex and any legal representatives involved to ensure the donation is processed correctly and reflects your wishes. Consider reaching out for legal advice or assistance to guide you through the process and help address any claims made by your ex, especially regarding lawyer's fees and property abandonment.

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