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Joint ownership of inherited property

Discussion in 'Joint Ownership' started by mpbarber, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. mpbarber

    mpbarber Law Topic Starter Member

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    North Carolina
    When my mother died several years ago she put both mine and my brother's name on the deed to the house we inherited. I have my own home. He is living in the in inherited home. Unknown to me, he has not paid the property taxes and now my wages have been attached for the tax debt.

    Does he have any legal responsibility for the taxes and what are my options to get him off the deed or at least make him pay the taxes as he is living there.
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry - that's simply not how it works. Your mom did not put your name on the deed when she died. There must have been some sort of probate process (in which you were involved), or there was some sort of "transfer on death" process (of which, again, you were involved). As a homeowner, you are responsible for the taxes and should have been proactive about the matter. In any case, a good argument could be made that he is responsible for half the tax, but not all of it (unless you have some sort of agreement in place, preferably in writing).
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Please explain this a little better. "When [your] mother died," she didn't do any such thing. She could only have "put [your names] on the deed" while she was alive. I could think of at least a couple different things that this might mean, so please clarify what you mean.

    I can't claim to have any particular knowledge about North Carolina property tax law, but one could reasonably assume that all joint owners have joint and several liability for property taxes. I'll also offer that it's very unusual for a property owner's wages to be garnished for unpaid property taxes. Typically, unpaid property taxes simply become a lien against the property.

    By the way, why did you not pay the property taxes for this property that you own or ensure that your brother was paying him. Did you simply assume he was taking care of it?

    File a lawsuit for something called partition (essentially a court-ordered sale of the property) or offer to buy out his interest.

    There's nothing you can do ahead of time that will force him to pay. All you can do is sue him after the fact.

    Obviously, you and your brother need to sit down and discuss this situation. If he's going to live there, then he either needs to pay the mortgage, insurance taxes, etc. or he needs to pay you half of the fair rental value of the home.
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I can only relate my personal experience with owning property with another person, NOT my spouse.

    I have never jointly owned property with another person NOT my spouse.

    My grandfather left property to me and my siblings.
    Upon learning of his generous gift, I simply declined to accept ownership.

    My wife and I placed all of our real estate into a family trust some years ago.

    I am continually amazed at people who wish to gift property to their relatives upon their passing, but disregard what happens IF one or more are deadbeats.

    In some cases, the act of generosity could end with the loss of the real estate to government.

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