If you pay property tax on land for 35 years but the deed is in an another’s name, do you have rights?

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If you pay property tax on land for 35 years but the deed is in an another’s name, do you have rights?

My mother-in-law passed but paid taxes on property for 35 years. The deed is still in her ex-husband’s

name. The ex is trying to take to take property back now. Does he have that right?

Asked on April 20, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, he does. If the "deed is still in her ex-husband's name," he is the owner of the property; he does not need to "take [the] property back now," because it is already his. Paying taxes on property does not, unfortunately, given you any ownership rights to it: people pay the various costs of family members' property or cars all the time (e.g. paying a sibling's car payments; paying a child's mortgage) without gaining ownership over those things. Paying someone's bills or costs does not take away the owner's rights; in this case, your mother-in-law paying taxes does not take away her ex's ownership of property.


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