Can house be taken for non payment of taxes?

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Can house be taken for non payment of taxes?

Wayne CO, Michigan
Person died intestate, not enough
cash for all bills. Must sell house.
No administrator named but 2016 tax
bill came

Asked on July 3, 2016 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the government can seize property if the taxes are not paid: that is how the government enforces its property tax claims. This does not happen instantly when the taxes are not paid--there is a process of providing notices and a chance to pay the taxes first; typically this takes months. There is some time to deal with this.
Presumably you are an heir who stands to inherit the property: if you are the only heir, paying the tax bill is protecting your inheritance; it's an investment, so to speak. If you do not stand to inherit enough value or equity from the home as to justify paying the taxes, it's probably not worthwhile paying--let the government get the home.
If there is more than one heir, get together with the others and joinly pay the taxes.
If you need time to work out the details, get funding, and/or to get the letters testamentary or other authorization needed to take action, contact the tax office, let them know the situation, and ask for some time to work things out--you will probably find them very accommodating, since they don't want to take over a property which then needs to be maintained and sold; they'd rather have an arrangement to get the tax.


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