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Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32001
Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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My aunt passed away in October 2011. I consequently

Customer Question

My aunt passed away in October 2011. I consequently inherited her two properties- one in the Bronx and one in Queens. My aunt left a will that went to probate and was deemed legitimate. I received title of the properties in 2013. My brother is the executor
of the estate and as so paid back property taxes in 2012 adding up to 38000. When I sold the properties in 2014 I was told I had to reimburse the estate for my aunt's taxes accrued prior to her death and also responsible for her taxes after her death up till
the sale of the properties. The taxes the estate paid were taken out of the sale of the properties. I am seeking to be reimbursed by the Estate for the amount they took out of that sale as I don't feel I should be paying for her tax liabilities prior to her
death. The Estate attorney is citing Section 1811 of the Surrogate's Court Procedures Act (a) (b) Any taxes so paid by a fiduciary on real property which descends too a distributee or passes to a devisee shall be a charge therefor for which the beneficiary
must reimburse the estate unless in the case of wills the testator has indicated expressly or by necessary implication that such taxes be otherwise paid. Please advise..
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you today.
My condolences for your loss.
I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.
Unfortunately, sec 1811 does allow the executor to charge back for taxes paid by the estate. Check the will for a provision that the estate is liable for the taxes, because the statute does not except taxes accruing before death. It states "Any taxes..."
I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not necessarily a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.
Best regards.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would the following not be applicable in this case....Even though in theory you were entitled to inherit this property upon death, you did not receive title and possession of the property until 2013 after the will was contested, deemed legitimate, probated, and letters issued to the executor for authority. Until that time, you had none of the benefits of the ownership of the property and thus should not have any of the burdens. Rather, until that time, the property was estate property and the estate should have paid to maintain it, including keeping it insured and paying the property tax. Had you tried to take possession of it to sell or to rent, the executor would have prevented this; so, if you have none of the benefits of ownership, you should contest having any of the burdens of ownership. This came from another attorney I had used two years ago online...Do you support this view?
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for following up.
Unfortunately,I would not agree with that analysis since the statute allows the recovery of any taxes paid.
The estate has the right to seek reimbursement. The statute does not limit the reimbursement to taxes paid after the property is transferred from the estate to the legatee.
Best regards.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
Did you have any further questions? Have I answered your question?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't think my aunt woul have liked my being liable for her lack of paying taxes
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
She could have specified in the will that you should not be liable for the real estate taxes. That would overcome sec 1811.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So there is no recourse in this situation.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
You can challenge it in the probate court. Try asserting the argument that you should not be liable for taxes accruing before your aunt died.
I do not think you will prevail, but the executor may feel compelled to settle with you and you can get, at least, a partial pay back.
Best regards.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
If you have no further questions, please remember to leave a favorable rating (Excellent or Good) so that I am credited for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 years ago.
Did you have any further questions before you rate my answer?

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