If my grandfather passed away 29 years ago and my parents have lived on the land and paid the taxes, is there anyway to legally get my father’s name on the deed without probate?

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If my grandfather passed away 29 years ago and my parents have lived on the land and paid the taxes, is there anyway to legally get my father’s name on the deed without probate?

My grandfather owned 7.5 acres of land on which my grandmother and my parents continued to live and cultivate. My grandmother passed away 14 years ago. My father had been paying the property taxes for several years before she passed but I am not sure if he paid them in his name or hers. Since she dies my parents have continued to live on the land and have continued to pay the property taxes each year in my father’s name. However, the title to the land is still in my grandfather’s name.

Asked on June 11, 2015 under Estate Planning, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately there is no way to do what you want. Paying taxes on land does not give you any rights to it--anyone can pay taxes on land on behalf of the owner, and its not uncommon for one family member to pay taxes for another, but doing so has no effect on ownership. Living on someone else's land with their permission does not in anyway transfer ownership--it merely means you are a guest (if you didn't pay rent) or tenant (if you did). The only way to transfer title at this point would be probate, with the land going to whomever (preumably your father) would inherit it.


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