If you paid taxes on a land parsel for 5 consecutive years, can you gain ownership?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If you paid taxes on a land parsel for 5 consecutive years, can you gain ownership?

The property is owned by my sister and I. It was inherited from our mother. I have paid my part to her in cash or in check. She is trying to manipulate the law into stealing away my half. After she found this out she had the notice sent to her home and started paying taxes early so it would be her personal check.

Asked on October 12, 2017 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, paying a co-owner's share of taxes does not give you any right to her share of or interest in the property unless there had been a written contract or other agreement between the two of you that in exchange for paying those taxes for some period of time, you'd get her share. In the absence of an agreement, the fact that one owner wrote the check to the taxing authorities has no affect on ownership. Ownership is independent of who paid which costs, again unless there was some agreement to the contrary.

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