Q: Property was turned over to us children. Two siblings passed away. Their children have not paid a cent of taxes for almost 18 years and now are holding us up from selling. What can I do? (White Oak, PA)
A: You really need to sit down with a lawyer to examine the prior deeds and estate papers to assess with certainty, what the present situation is. If you are correct, in that you own the property with the children of deceased siblings, and they are not cooperating with a sale, I would say you have a problem. You may have to buy out their interest. You could argue that what they receive should be reduced by the portion of real estate taxes and insurance if any, that they have not paid over the years. If this cannot be worked out, a petition for partition action in Allegheny County is expensive to file and litigate-for both parties. This is a matter that should be settled based on value of the property.
Q: If a cosigner on a mortgage has assumed all financial responsibility due to the joint owner’s default what is the process to get that joint owner off the deed or title? In Pennsylvania. No relation or marriage was involved just an act of good faith. The other party is not agreeable or even available or whereabouts unknown. Concerns around the other party’s debts continuing to mount in the way of liens on property. Intent to keep property but need to remove negligent party’s interests and ownership.
A: If your information is correct, that you are on the deed to real estate with someone else and the someone else will not sign off on a deed, you have a problem. If they are disagreeable, you may need to buy their interest out, or otherwise convince them to sign a new deed from both of you to you. If that is not possible, you will need to file an action for partition for real estate, which is expensive and time consuming. If their whereabouts are unknown, you may be able to serve them by public notice or advertising. You would need to discuss all the details with a lawyer for a more definite answer. Also, you may have a potential problem if the mortgagee (bank/lender) will not agree to taking the other person off the deed. You would need to seek their permission.