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: My aunt bought a house decades ago and paid cash for it… It had been entirely in her name only as she was a widow at the time with younger children. My aunt put her sons name on her house 15 or 20 years-ago when she was married to a man that ended in divorce. She believed in doing so it would protect the house from the husband. Now the son, who has always lived with her, has turned into bi-polar? and a slob and a hoarder and his stuff is encroaching into the entire house, except her bedroom. He also is very verbally abusive to his mother. She has health issues and he refuses to do anything because he says he owns half the house and he pays half of the expenses. Is there any way to get his name off the deed without her buying him out or having him sign anything; especially when she is the one who paid in full for the house originally?
A: Once someone’s name is on the deed, you must get them to sign a new deed to get their name off, unless they die, assuming the property is held as joint tenants with survivorship. She must get him to agree to sign a deed from both to her. or buy him out. If that is not possible a partition action can be filed. These are expensive and time consuming. If he is verbally abusive, you might want to consider advising her to consult with an attorney regarding the filing of a Protection of Abuse Petition. This would in effect, get him out of the home, but would not affect his property rights.