Who is responsible for the taxes and utilities on deceased mother’s house?

My mother died almost 7 years ago; she had 4 children and owned a house free and clear. One of my brothers is living in the house, paying the taxes and utilities. However, he got behind on the taxes and the water was turned off. He is going to leave the house and not pay another dime on utilities and property/school taxes. Are all of the kids responsible for the taxes? We are not on any deed or title.

Asked on August 22, 2018 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

To the extent that you and your siblings take over the house, then as the owners you would be responsible for any back taxes owed, especially if a lien against the property has been filed. As for the utilito ties, they attach the person, not the real estate, so you and your siblings would bear no liability for them. If they were in your brother's name then he is responsible; if they were still in your late mother's name then her estate is. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

People who are not the owners of the property (not on any deed or title) or not liable for property taxes. People who were not on the utility (e.g. water or electrict) accounts are not responsible for any utilities, either.

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