Legal Question in Real Estate Law in New York

I qualified for a subsidized apartment as I am disabled with a very low income, few assets. I'm going to be moving in a couple of weeks and have been cleaning house to get ready. While cleaning I came across an old postcard for past due taxes that my brother showed me several years ago. It's for a tiny parcel of land in N.C. that my former step-father (now deceased) and mother (also deceased) owned.

I contacted my former step-brother, thinking that the property must have been sold for taxes because it's been so long. He said no, and that he was paying them all these years.

He said the total value of the property is about $8,000. He said my brother and I would be entitled to half that, and he and his siblings the other half. This means my part would be worth 1/4 or $2,000.

I forgot about this because it's been so many years. I didn't list this asset on my application because it was an honest mistake. I forgot all about it. I've had so many medical problems including two emergency surgeries for hernia, another for cancer, etc. I honestly forgot about this until I found that card.

The apartment I'm moving to is in NY State. The parcel of land I'm talking about is in N.C. I went to the county website in N.C. in which that parcel is located and I can't find the parcel on that postcard. Another one that is one digit off is listed, and that one is in the name of my former step-father and his first wife. Then there's another listing for his first wife and my step-brother. Mom isn't listed anywhere. I don't know if my former step-father and first wife remarried after he divorced my mother. I mention this because the first record lists him and his first wife - she is referred to as "wife" on the non-warranty deed. On the second document she is referred to as "widow."

Again, the parcel that was referenced on that postcard is one digit off from the record I found online. Maybe both parcels were merged? I don't know.

Naturally I'll have to tell the apartment office tomorrow when they open. I'm scared this will have a negative impact on whether or not I can move. I've got to get out of where I live now because it's a dump and neighbors have been harrassing me.

Please let me know if this will impact my move. Please!

Asked on 4/14/13, 9:29 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Are you sure that you're required to tell them? The property is only worth $2,000 and you owe money to your stepbrother for back taxes that he paid. I don't know that the total value of the property is worth much to you and there don't seem to be any plans to sell it.

I would wait until I received more info before I contacted the apartment office. I understand your desire to be honest and it's commendable but I think that you should balance it against more practical concerns such as your legal duty to share this asset with the office. I would contact an attorney in the legal aid office in your area to get more info before I told the apartment office anything.

This is an example of sharing TOO much information before you check out the facts and the law.

Hope this helps.


Christopher Moye, Esq.

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Answered on 4/14/13, 9:34 am

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