Am I obligated to give money to my deceased cousin’s children for land?

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Am I obligated to give money to my deceased cousin’s children for land?

I have 88 acres of farm land and 8 of the acres belonged to my late cousin. She never paid taxes on the land; I have been paying the taxes for the past 25 years or so. Since she is deceased her children came to me and want money for the land. Am I obligated to give them anything?

Asked on August 20, 2016 under Estate Planning, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Paying taxes on someone else's land does not make the land yours or give you ownership rights over it, especially in a case like this, where paying the taxes on the land could be seen as the "rent" you were paying for the right to farm or use the land. If the land was not left to you, but instead went to your cousin's children, then they have the right to either kick you off the land, or to lease it to you (if you are wiling to pay the lease price they ask), or to sell it to you (if you are wiling to buy it); it is their land, not yours.


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