Tough situation caused by inherited land

Posted: July 03, 2012

Q. My parents both died in 2010. At the time of their deaths, they owned a small house in North Philly. Shortly after that, the house next to theirs was declared unsafe and taken down by the city. In the process, mother and dad's house was so badly damaged, that it had to go. The insurance company paid the estate for the loss, and the children divided the money. Now the city has notified us to pay the real-estate taxes on the lot. They tell us that we now own it even though the title is still in our parents' names. How can anyone force us to accept an inheritance? They insist that we own it because we did get the insurance money.

A. I don't know how you were able to use the insurance money when it was payable to the estate. The city is trying to put the estate in the position where it owned the property, and as a result the money should not have been distributed. My legal eagles are not in agreement as to whether it can hold the heirs responsible for the taxes. I can only recommend that you get a good lawyer who specializes in estates.

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood — contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.

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