IfI pay the yearly taxes on a home that is not in my namebut the owner is dead, could the house be put in my name?

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IfI pay the yearly taxes on a home that is not in my namebut the owner is dead, could the house be put in my name?

Asked on October 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No. Paying taxes for someone--which includes a decedent's estate, his or her heirs, or a bank or city, if the house is foreclosed upon--does not give you ownership; and if you do so without the knowledge and consent of the owner, whoever or whatever that is, you don't get even a claim for compensation or reimbursement; the taxes become your gift to them.

Your options are: 1) find out who owns it now, if the owner is dead, and make them an offer on the home; 2) if you think it is or may soon be foreclosed upon, see if you can't buy it from the bank or city after foreclosure. But you can't take property simply by paying any taxes due on it.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No. Paying taxes for someone--which includes a decedent's estate, his or her heirs, or a bank or city, if the house is foreclosed upon--does not give you ownership; and if you do so without the knowledge and consent of the owner, whoever or whatever that is, you don't get even a claim for compensation or reimbursement; the taxes become your gift to them.

Your options are: 1) find out who owns it now, if the owner is dead, and make them an offer on the home; 2) if you think it is or may soon be foreclosed upon, see if you can't buy it from the bank or city after foreclosure. But you can't take property simply by paying any taxes due on it.


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