Q: My cousin received a house in the settlement of our grandmother’s estate. She started living in the house in the middle of last year. She received the deed to the property in January 2007.

The real estate tax bill is now due. Who is supposed to pay the taxes, my cousin or the estate?

A: Do you pay taxes for the current year or in arrears? If the tax bill is for 2006, as opposed to 2007, then the estate might pay the taxes owed on the property. If the tax bill is for the current year, then your cousin would foot the bill and might owe the estate real estate taxes for the half of the year she lived in the property.

Personally, I think she should pay the tax bill no matter when it is for, or at least she should pay the bill for the half of the year that she lived in the property. After all, she received this bequest and should pick up the expenses. If she doesn’t, the other heirs are effectively picking up that cost and she got the free use of the home for that time.

For more details, please speak to a real estate or estate attorney for more details.

Published: Oct 5, 2007