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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33911
Experience:  Estate Law Expert
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I am listed as an heir to a lot of unimproved land in Kern

Customer Question

I am listed as an heir to a lot of unimproved land in Kern County, California. My Father left to myself, and my seven siblings at the time of his death with no real will, only a hand written note leaving this property to his children, eight in number.
Over the years my older brother has been keeping the property taxes current. He died in 2012, and since that time I have kept them current.
Four of my sibling have died in the past few years with no wills, two living siblings are homeless and estranged; and my last sibling I am in touch with is in poor health and incapable of any responsibility.
How do I "relinquish" my responsibility in this property with these multiple probate issues regarding this unwanted property. Can I file a quitclaim to remove myself from the deed?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.
Do you want to 1) waive your interest in the property, 2) just not have anything to do with the hassle of probate, or 3) both?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I cannot afford the probate costs, the difficulty is enormous for contacting other heirs, and would just like to relinquish my interests in this property.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
It's hard to do a Quitclaim at this part since you really don't have anyone in particular to quitclaim your interest to. There is no real way to sign a waiver of interest in the estate since there is no estate pending in the courts.
At this time the best thing to do is nothing. At some point either the land will be taken for taxes or someone will decide they want the land and at that point ask you to sign a Quitclaim.
Since the land is not in your name yet you are not actually responsible for taxes or any liability on the land and you can let it be taken for taxes without any worries.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The county has sent me a notice to clear the land for weed abatement and they have me as the listed tax payer for the property, are you saying its best to do nothing and let them claim the property, aren't ther some liabilities...they are assessing me for weed abatement with fines at this point.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
If I understood your earlier post, you don't actually own the land yet, correct? The probate was never completed and the land still belongs to the estate of your deceased father, correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If someone contacts me and wants me to sign a quit claim, can I do that if they wants it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I believe that is true since his probate was never cleared, at this point I believe the county recognizes me as the responsible party for taxes
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
As to the Quitclaim Deed you can certainly sign it if someone contacts you. All a Quitclaim Deed does is say that IF I own or will own any interest in the future then I am deeding it to you. It doesn't say that you do own any interest.
The county probably just has your name as the taxpayer since you paid some taxes. However, doing that doesn't make you responsible for the property. You can go and pay taxes on your neighbor's house if you want to but it doesn't give you any rights or obligations over their house.
What I'd suggest you do is get a local lawyer to write the county a letter explaining that you don't own the property, the owner is deceased, and that they need to open a probate to have someone authorized to commit to upkeep and to remove your name. It will cost you a little for the lawyer, probably $100 or less, but it should work and will likely save you money in the long run because at this point the county isn't checking the court records and thinks you are responsible.