What Can I Do to Prevent Foreclosure if Life Estate Owner is Not Paying Taxes?

 In Real Estate
life estate holder

Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash


My mother left her home in a life estate for a family friend who hasn’t paid the taxes for the last three years. As a result, the property is scheduled to go foreclosure at the end of this month. My brother and I will receive the home when the family friend passes away, but he doesn’t care about the property and won’t help out. What can I do to stop foreclosure?


If you can afford to do so, your best bet is to pay the taxes yourself. As the life estate holder, or “life tenant,” the family friend is responsible for maintaining the property, including paying the taxes. As a “remainderman,” one of the people who will receive the property upon the life tenant’s death, you may make a claim against the family friend for failure to fulfill their obligations. But that takes time and money and would not protect the property from foreclosure.

It sounds like you brother is not being cooperative, but perhaps he would agree to reimburse you for the taxes you paid if you plan to sell the property after the life tenant’s death. If he won’t agree to this, then after paying the taxes you may want to bring an action against the life tenant. If the life tenant does not have the funds to reimburse you, then you may need to make a claim against your brother too, just to preserve your rights.

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