Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

my sister and i inherited real property in NC. My half is situated with a house and land. her half is only land. My sister hasn't paid any of her share of property taxes. My wife has been paying the taxes on her half since nothing is split, though the will states the house is mines. Is my wife at liberty to sue my siter in civil court for her negleting to pay her half. Just to note my sister lives in VA and owns her own home there.

Asked on 3/15/13, 3:29 pm

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Your wife has nothing to do with this. If the land is in one tract, I don't know how you can claim that the home is yours. Rather, you and your sister would each own 50% of the undivided whole. If the land is capable of subdivision into two relatively equal parcels, why not just subdivide, with you taking the parcel with the home and your sister taking the rest? Upon subdivision and preparation of new deeds, your sister's parcel can be in your sister's name and she can be responsible for her own taxes.

In the alternative, it is obvious that your sister has no interest in the NC property. Why then have you not offered to buy out your sister's share? Any offer would be equal to her share of the property, minus any amount by which taxes were paid on your sister's share for the past three years.

If your sister is unwilling to sell her share to you, then I suggest that you consult a real estate attorney and have the attorney bring a partition action. In partition, the court will seek to divide the land if possible or have the parties reach an amicable resolution in regard to you buying your sister's share. Failing that, the land will be sold and you and your sister can split the proceeds.

You will need a real estate attorney who practices in the county where the land is located.

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Answered on 3/15/13, 6:13 pm

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