What should I do with an unwanted inheritance?
I have inherited a house I never asked for and don't want. It is in bad condition and will be a problem to sell. The house is located in Pennsylvania. What are my options? What would happen to me if I let it go for back taxes?
You are typically allowed to refuse a gift or inheritance through a valid “disclaimer”. After disclaiming the property, it would pass on to the next beneficiary as if you had pre-deceased the person who you are inheriting the property from. In order for the disclaimer to be valid and legally binding, you typically need to: 1) have the disclaimer in writing; 2) give that written disclaimer to the person who is controlling the administration of the estate, typically called an executor; 3) complete steps 1 & 2 within 9 months of the date of death of the decedent; and 4) refuse to accept any benefit from the property you are attempting to disclaim. Would recommend you review the above with local counsel licensed to practice in your State.
First, you could disclaim the inheritance, that way you never have any ownership or need to worry about what to do with this property. The executor of the Will would then either list the property for sale, or it would go to another beneficiary under the Will
But it sounds like you didn't do this, and now you have ownership of this problem. So, list it for sale, and price it agressively. A slum lord will buy it and make minimal repairs and then rent it to someone. I would not let it go for taxes as you will have possession of it for too long, and the longer you own it, the more likely it will become vandelized or become a drug den. Worse, someone could become injured on the property and sue you, so be sure you have insurance on this house before you successful sell it.
It's always a challenge when you receive something of potential value that ends up being a nightmare. Sorry you are going through this. The prior responder highlighted the "best" way to rid yourself of the property through a disclaimer. The only issue with doing that is then you pass the problem along to another family member, in all likelihood. If they want the asset, great. If not, you have ust passed the buck. If you have passed the deadline or don't want to burden someone else with the problem, there are other solutions, although they take more work. First, you can try to sell the property on an "as is" basis for a reasonable but low price. Second, you can try to donate the property to charity or donate it to a State agency. Third, you can "sell" it to your local municipality if there is any interest on their part, especially if it is near other utilities that they may run. Fourth, you could try to sell it to other potential interested parties (i.e. organizations with facilities near to or abutting the current parcel of land, neighbors looking to expand, land trusts or envirnmental groups. etc.) The posibilities are endless, but will require work on your part both in thinking about the right potential "owners" of the land and doing the legwork of contacting them.
Sorry there is no one best answer. Please contact your accountant or lawyer about the disclaimer if you are still within the alotted time to do so. You may also want to reach out to local real estate agents to get their thoughts.