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Deferring Taxes Can Backfire on Heirs

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Jul 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

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Massachusetts moves to make home ownership easier for elderly. However, the program can create a problem.

To avoid the problem of its elderly residents keeping up with tax payments, Massachusetts created a program that lets seniors defer property taxes, until after they pass away. The taxes are then owed by the estate and about 1,000 people are currently enrolled.  However, the program can have unintended consequences, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "An Inheritance Damaged by Delayed Property Taxes.".

A woman named Frances Arntz applied for the program in 1989 and continued to do so, until she moved in with her daughter in 2008. Her son then moved into Arntz's old home and began paying the property tax regularly.

Arntz passed away in 2018 but the town had been charging interest on the deferred property tax. The son inherited the property and received an unexpected bill for $120,000 for the back-property taxes, plus interest.

An elder law attorney can advise you on signing up for such a program.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (June 21, 2018) "An Inheritance Damaged by Delayed Property Taxes."

About the Author

Nina Whitehurst

Attorney at Law Nina has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate and business law She is currently licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee. Her Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating is the highest achievable: 5 stars in peer...

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