How to claim ownership on a joint inheritance property . ?

My mom passed away in 2012 . She left behind a small home that was inherited to her . In the state of Kentucky, the home that belonged to her went to my dad and me and my two brothers as joint ownership . At the time of her passing , she owed a substantial amount of back taxes . My dad paid off  the Lien . 

My dad passed away in June . He had his will set up that me and my family would inherited everything. Reason for that is my brothers are addicts and my parents has helped them ( buying homes etc) so they spent their inheritance while my parents were living . 

I am now the only one  paying the taxes on my mom inheritance property . I am just wondering when my dad paid of my mom  back property taxes did that make him the owner of the property? If not since I pay the taxes can I claim ownership ? My brothers won’t sign it over to me and I would like to have it in my name since I am the only one taking care of the property . What are my options ? 

12 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    When mom passed, she willed the house to your dad and her children. If that was done and recorded in equal shares and you then inherited your father's share, then you own 50% and each brother owns 25%. The tax bill should therefore be sent to, in those percentages to you and your siblings. I wonder why that did not happen...which leads me to believe that perhaps the ownership records when your mom died were not recorded, perhaps. Or, it was set up in a survivorship situation when the deed transfered out of your mom's name when she passed. You have some research to do.

    I can go to my town hall website to see who is listed as owners of any town property by simply typing in the address. Transfer of ownership records are public records at the town hall where you pay the property taxes.

    Send your brothers each 25% of the tax and maintenance bills. 

    Your fathers estate should be going through probate. If you and your siblings cannot agree on what to do with the house, the probate judge can order the property to be sold and profits split accordingly. Can you afford to buy them out? 

    If your fathers estate contains cash, you can use his money to pay his 25% up until the property transfers into your and your brothers names.

    It can get complicated. You can hire an estate lawyer with your fathers money, if he had any when he passed away, because this is for the handling of his estate.

    good luck.

  • 1 month ago

    As your Mom left the property to your Dad, two brothers, and yourself, your Dad could only leave his 1/4 ownership to you giving you 50% interest in the home. Your brothers own the other half. You can request them to quitclaim their shares to you or buy them out. They should also be paying 1/2 of the taxes until they sign it over to you. It can get complicated and I would suggest hiring an attorney.


  • 1 month ago

    Your brothers have no obligation to sign it over to you.  Their ownership is outside the estate of your father.  Buy them out is kind of your option.  You cannot just "claim ownership".  Your father's portion may not have been able to be willed, depending on the deed type.

  • 1 month ago

    Start by searching for the county assessor or county records department - (the county where the home is located). Property records are considered public information, so in most places you can get the info online once you get to the county records website.

    That should show you who legally owns the property as well as the history of ownership transfers and the tax records.

    Paying the taxes on a house does NOT make someone the legal owner, so if ownership was never changed to other people's names then it may still be in your Mom's name.

    Your Dad cannot give away things in his will that did not belong to him, so if the house was still in Mom's name or was jointly owned then this will be a far more complicated process and you'll need a lawyer to help you.

    When a property is jointly owned among family the deed is usually written as joint tenants with "rights of survivorship"

    Joint tenants means that you all have overlapping ownership rights. Its not a 25% share, you all have the right to use and occupy the home as though its 100% your own - how you sort that out between the multiple owners is your own issue and is not determined by property laws.

    Right of survivorship means that when one owner dies the surviving owners retain their ownership rights. So when your Dad was alive there were 4 owners, when he died there are now only 3 owners.

    Your Dad cannot give you sole ownership via his will because he didn't have sole ownership when he was alive. Or to put it another way - your brothers don't suddenly lose their ownership rights just because your Dad passed away, and for that matter neither do you.

    My guess is that all 3 of you are now co-owners as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and that means the only way you are going to become the sole owner is to buy out your brothers for a "share" of the home's value that everyone agrees is fair. You can try to argue that you own 50% and your brothers each own 25% because your Dad left you his 25% share, but that's not really how it works and I don't know if your brothers would fall for it and accept 25% of the value as a buy out.

    You can bring up the issue of property taxes and other maintenance costs you paid out of pocket and factor that into your offer to your brothers, but unless the matter goes in front of a judge to be settle by the courts its really just a matter of what you can get them to accept. And if you do go to court to settle this the most likely answer is going to be that you are forced to sell the home and split the proceeds - and you *might* get a slightly larger share to cover your tax payments.

    It sounds to me like no matter what you do you'll be working with an attorney before this is all over, but start by gathering as much info as possible so you aren't paying an attorney's hourly rate to find data you can find yourself.

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  • Eva
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You need to speak with an estate attorney.  Your dad could will you his share of the property, but he cannot will you your brothers shares.  The way it works is this:  when your mother died, your father got half of the property and you and your brothers split the other half. Dad owned 50%, you and your brothers each owned 16.6666%.  When your dad passed, you now own 66.66666% and your brothers each own 16.6666%.  Your brothers owe you their share of the property taxes (and any other expenses) you have paid since your father died.  You would need to negotiate a buy-out of your brothers' shares.  If they refuse to sell, you may have to take them to court.

  • 1 month ago

    Your only option is to offer your brothers money for the house in exchange for them signing off the deed to it. Paying taxes on any property does not make you the owner. Anyone can pay the taxes. Often when back taxes are owed, the county will sell the 'tax lien' to a third party so they can try to collect it. But that third party never claims ownership of the property itself--only the tax bill on it. 

    If you're paying taxes on the property to keep it current, you need an attorney that is versed in property issues--so you can try to make your brothers an offer they will accept. They don't have to. You may not ever get them to sign off. But that's your only alternative.  You can't sell the property, you can't claim it. I wish you luck. Having people who don't want to give up ownership is a lot like having squatters. You will only be able to resolve this by using legal methods. 

  • Judy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    talk to a lawyer asap.

  • 1 month ago

    Paying the back taxes on the property does not make you an owner.  The taxes have to be so delinquent that the county tax collector sells the property.  Your mom's will made you, your father and brothers each quarter owners.  I can't tell if you are joint tenants or tenants in common.  If, like in my state, California, you all took title as joint tenants then when your father died his interest would flow automatically to the survivors making you each 1/3 owners and he couldn't leave his interest to anybody.  If you took title as tenants in common your father could will his quarter to you making you the half owner with your brothers each owning a quarter.  The tax collector doesn't care who pays the property tax so it is up to you to get it from them however you wish to go about it.   

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Consider the taxes like rent. And hopefully you can live there otherwise rent free.   In my state they let people bid on past due taxes and those people stand in line to be paid before any transfer of the property can occur. So it might benefit you to let them become delinquent and then bid on them.

  • 1 month ago

    Paying the taxes does not make it your house.  If you can't get them to sign it over to you or possibly buy them out then you'll have to sell it and take your part, or you could keep paying the taxes and possibly rent it out or something, though they could come after you for part of the rent money too.

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