Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

Father died intestate and left a condemned house. Township expects me (heir) to take care of cleaning/selling/demolishing the property and I would have to pay estate taxes and attorney fees to put everything in my name to make this happen. Nothing is in my name and I want nothing to do with it. How am I liable for any of this?

Asked on 9/03/13, 1:13 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Because you are an heir to the property. The property is yours. Title to land passes automatically as of the minute of death. You can sell it or do what you want with it. You have costs but there has to be equity value in the land which you would keep.

You do not indicate when your father died. If he died less than 9 months ago, then you can file a renunciation/disclaimer. To be effective it must comply with both federal and state law. With a renunciation, you are giving up your right to receive anything from your father's estate. You will be treated as if you died before your father and in such case the land will pass to any other siblings and, if you have children, your share might pass to them.

Before you do something which you may regret, I suggest that you have a consult with a probate attorney who practices in the county where the estate is/would be pending or where the land is located. Pay the attorney to review the situation and see how best to tackle it by either renouncing or handling this.

If you do nothing and the land has been condemned, the municipality may tear down the structure and stick you with the bill.

As a third-way, it may be possible to negotiate - depending on where the land is located, maybe it can be donated to the municipality in exchange for them doing the demolition work. I don't know but you never know what is possible until you ask or do some checking.

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Answered on 9/04/13, 12:21 pm

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