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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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