What is the law regarding the transfer of title if their are back taxes owed?

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What is the law regarding the transfer of title if their are back taxes owed?

My father passed away 6 years ago. I am a 22 year old student who lives with my grandmother in NJ. My mother lives in PA. My parents were never married. I received a school tax bill from a lawyer as the heir. They tacked on thousands of dollars of attorney fees too. First off I never received any tax bills. This was the first one. Am I responsible for these taxes? I was told I can’t transfer the house over to my mother unless the taxes are all paid off. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on July 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are not personally liable for the taxes, if you were not the homeowner when they were incurred. However, if you inherited the house at some point in the last 6 years (e.g. the home went through probate and was titled to you), from that point forward, you were responsible for any taxes which accrued. Also, you cannot transfer the property without the taxes being paid. If you are not yet the owner (e.g. you have not inherited yet) and the home is underwater in terms of equity due to mortgage, taxes, and/or other liens, consider disclaiming, or giving up the right to inherit, in which case you  can walk away from the home, since you were never the owner and are not liable. If you want to keep the home, however (so it does not get lost to a tax sale) and/or be able to transfer it, you will have to find some way to pay the taxes.


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