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What to do if you inherit someone's home

Depending on your circumstances, you probably are not expecting to inherit property from your parents or another loved one. But in the event you do, it is particularly important to know what to do with it. This is especially important with regard to real property because of the unexpected costs and responsibilities that can come with it.

This post will highlight a few things that you should be aware of. 

Property taxes – If you inherit a house or condo, chances are that you may be saddled with the responsibility of paying unpaid property taxes. Hopefully your loved one paid the taxes through an escrow account that is funded through every mortgage payment. In the event that it is not, the taxing authority (usually the county where the property is located) will place a lien on the property.

Selling the property – In the event you want to sell the property, you may be concerned about capital gains taxes. It is important to know that if you qualify, you may be entitled to a “stepped-up basis” which means that the basis (I.e. what the house is valued at) will be different than what it was originally paid for. This may help you avoid capital gains taxes should you decide to sell the property.

Renting the property – Depending on the jurisdiction, you may have to obtain an inspection so that you may certify with county (or city) authorities that the property is suitable for a residential lease. You may also be ordered to make required repairs and get approval before renting the property. 

If you have additional questions about inheriting property, an experienced estate planning attorney can advise you. 

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