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FIL's property tax bill unpaid
Old 04-22-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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FIL's property tax bill unpaid

BIL calls up and says FIL's house is listed in the newspaper as being up for auction because he hasn't paid the property taxes.


I confirm this online at the County's web site. The amount is relatively small - $2,700 - and we can easily write a check for it. A flurry of phone calls follows, the most tactful SIL calls him and he says he's going to take care of it by May 1st. According to generic info on the County web site the legal ball starts rolling May 12th. The County office closed at 4:00 PM so I'll call tomorrow and find out what the deal is on that.

Complicating all this is his stubborn and independent character. If he doesn't have the money to pay it I'm not at all certain that he'd admit it. If we pay it he may feel that we're intruding. And, while we could continue to pay it, I think he needs to face the reality that he simply can't afford to stay there if he can't afford the property taxes. The house is paid for, as far as I know he has a small pension and SS for income. His car is paid for, but it's older and has 130k+ miles on it so that issue will arise eventually. Doing without a car in that area is probably not realistic, at least not for long.

In discussions with DW she's all for paying it this time to head off the immediate crisis, but realizes that paying it indefinitely is not going to be a long-term solution more because of the characters involved than the dollar amounts. Perhaps looking at reverse mortgages is in order?

Anybody else run into a similar situation? What did you do, what was the outcome?

I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:54 PM   #2
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One or more of FIL kids (without spouses) needs to meet with him and have a frank talk about money. Can he meet his regular expenses? If not, things like a reverse mortgage could be discussed. Or, a loan from one or more children to pay taxes, secured by the home.

Also, could there be a competency issue?

Some states allow seniors to defer property taxes.

I have had to bail out relatives on occasion and the problem has been finding out there is a problem or finding out after it becomes more costly. I had frank discussions with the applicable people that I am in the position to help on occasion but they have to let me know what is going on. I told them that I am lucky and blessed so they should feel free to talk to me about money and I would be helpful if I could. Yes, it is intruding but that is what family is for. We have duties to each other and care about each other. There should be no shame with family. None are spendthrifts and all do their best to budget and can meet their regular expenses.

The hard part would be saying no if things got tighter with me and something bad happened with them.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

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Old 04-23-2008, 05:32 AM   #3
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One of them will meet with FIL later this week to discuss it with him. Of the four adult children, only two, DW and her other older sister, have a prayer of being able to "get through", and DW tends to be overly emotional in such situations. The other sister is schizophrenic just this side of needing hospitalization and the brother has distanced himself from any family complexities although he lives within sight of FIL's house. When we stayed at FIL's house for a month after RE waiting for our house to be finished I got along better with him than DW did.

Competency could be an issue, it is hard to tell. The last couple of years there have been some slight changes, more forgetfulness, he writes notes to himself a lot, that sort of thing. When we lived in MD the tax bills normally were sent out about early September and are due by the end of October - I'll have to call and find out if that's still the case.

Re tax deferral, that's one of the issues I'll ask about when I call the tax office. They apparently do have some sort of program but the info on the web site is not much.

The saga continues....
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