When a person is given living rights to property through a will, are they responsible for taxes on that property?

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When a person is given living rights to property through a will, are they responsible for taxes on that property?

My father died three years ago, my step mother was given through the will life time rights, I am the Executor of his will.I just learned that the house will go into fore closure next week. Can she be evicted for not handling the expenses as a life time person?

Asked on March 10, 2016 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Generally the life tenant (i.e. your stepmother) is responsible for all costs, maintenance, and upkeep, including taxes.
2) Of course, if the estate or the remainderman (the person who gets the house after your stepmother passes) fails to pay the taxes, the property will be foreclosed and you will lose it. Her failure does not absolve the property owner of his/her/its responsiblity to pay these amounts.
3) You may be able to remove her for failing to pay the upkeep, taxes, etc., but it's not a simple eviction process: you would have to file a complaint in chancery court and seek a court order essentially eliminating her life estate and removing her. This is a complicated thing to do, compared to a simple eviction of a tenant for nonpaymet of rent: you are advised to retain an attorney to help you.
4)  The estate or remainderman could also sue her for the money she was supposed to pay but failed to, forcing them to pay instead.


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