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Divvying up inherited real estate incites family feud

One sibling abuses long-term occupancy rights
Published on Dec 7, 2005

DEAR BOB: My mother died with a trust listing her two homes to be divided equally among her living children. My sister and her sons have lived rent-free for more than 20 years in our mother's second home. They did give my mother a token amount of money to pay the property taxes and fire insurance (or so they say). They now claim the house belongs to them by adverse possession because they paid the property taxes. Is this correct? – John N. DEAR JOHN: No. To claim title to a property by adverse possession, the adverse possessor must prove "open, notorious, hostile, and continuous" occupancy, plus payment of property taxes, for the number of years required by state law. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Even if your sister and her sons can prove payment of the property taxes for the statutory period, they can't meet the "open, notorious, and hostile" adverse possession test because your mother gave them permission to live in her house. For full details, please consult a local real...

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