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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36632
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I am the remainerman owner in a house in Maine. The person

Customer Question

I am the remainerman owner in a house in Maine. The person with the life estate is my mother. She is disabled, has learning disablities, but not to the point that she has not been able to live reasonably. Than recently I found out the taxes were behind 3.5 years. She filed for an abatement when we found out that was an option. A poverty and disabilitiy abatement. The township denied the case saying she did not actually own the property? I was unaware the I had a responsibility for any of the bills on the home till she is dead. The house is not actually my home till she has passed. I also did not know she was not paying the taxes because they never sent the info or bills to anyone but my mother at the property address. Thank you Judith Taxes behind over 10k, township has foreclosed 2 times, I just found this out.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question..I have read your comments, but am not exactly sure what your legal question is?.Are you asking if the remainderman is the legal owner?..thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I am not asking if I am the legal owner, I am to understand that I have no rights to this property until my mother has passed? Is she responsible for the taxes and or is the township right that she is not the actual owner and therefor can not file for an abatement because she is not rewsponsible for the taxes?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
As the remainderman, you are legally considered the owner of the property subject to the life tenant's right to use and occupy the property for their lifetime. These type of arrangements typically make the life tenant responsible for the taxes, maintenance, insurance and any mortgage as a condition of being able to continue to live there..But this depends entirely on the life estate/remainderman agreement and what it makes the life tenant responsible for..However, the town is right, because she doesn't legally own it, you do and her rights only extend to living there for her lifetime unless she gives up that right by quitclaim deeding her life estate to you or you have it extinguished through the court if she is not complying with the conditions of the life estate..The only way mother would become the owner would be if you quitclaim deeded your interest over to her, which would make her the sole owner of the property...thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok Barrister, So even though she was responsible for the taxes while she live there as per our agreement, basically I am stuck with the tax bill and have to take my mother to court to get her out of the house so I can sell it and pay the back taxes? Judith
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is 81 years old.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
So even though she was responsible for the taxes while she live there as per our agreement, basically I am stuck with the tax bill and have to take my mother to court to get her out of the house so I can sell it and pay the back taxes? .To boil it down...yes. If she didn't comply with your agreement, then your options are to pay the taxes yourself and then either sue her for reimbursement OR take her to court and argue "waste", which is a legal term for life estates where the life tenant is harming the remainderman's interest. If the judge agrees she is guilty of waste, he can then terminate her life estate and make you full owner of the property...thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank You Barrister, that would be a complete answer. My mother is a hoarder also so the house is a disaster, and once she is gone I estimate it will cost me a minimum of 10K just to clean it out. Also she recently had a stroke or pullminary issue because of her asthma and here oxygen went down to 45 and killed brain cells. So her memory is badly damaged and she has also become quite nasty to be around, no fun on this for me. I am sure a judge would find in my favor and she would have to be put in a state nursing home since she has no assets. This is a bad situation for me and the cost of flying back and forth from Colorado has been and is difficult on my finances and my small business is also suffering. Legal fees will make all that worse. Judith
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I really hate to hear that you are going to have to deal with this... I have a hoarder in my family as well and I limit my contact with them strictly for that reason.. It is hard to understand why they feel the need to save 500 canning lids when they have never canned in their lives...or 3 legged broken chairs... or stacks of newspapers... and so on.. I had to walk away from that situation as it was too mentally draining to deal with it and try to help when it wasn't wanted or appreciated...So I definitely know what you are going through here as this is a lot more common than people think with the older generations....thanksBarrister.