Can someone take over ownership of property if they pay the taxes on it?

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Can someone take over ownership of property if they pay the taxes on it?

I inherited 10 acres of land 40 years ago along with 2 other siblings for a total of 30 acres. Our cousin has used the land for 40 years, running cattle and whatever and paying the property taxes. My brother, sister and myself now want to sell the property. Our cousin is stating that we have no clain to the property as we abandoned it. That’s not true. Since he was using it, he should have paid the taxes on it. We would have been happy to pay the taxes on it had he mentioned his intent was to take it from us. Are we too late to hire an attorney?

Asked on October 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I suggest that you consult with a real estate attorney about the matter you are writing about. If you knowingly allowed your cousin to use the property you are writing about with permission he has no claim for an adverse possession claim even though he paid the property taxes on it.

To have an adverse possession claim, you cousin must have used the property openly, continously, under claim of right and to your exclusion for a period of five (5) years while paying the property taxes.


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