A Connecticut man is fighting to save his parents' home from auction after he missed notices of their delinquent taxes because he was hospitalized from a debilitating stroke.The man's parents passed away before his stroke, but due to a series of extenuating circumstances, their wills never went through probate. This step still needs to occur, in order for the man to be recognized as their legal heir.
The family may have been able to avoid the current tax problems with the property with proper trust and estate planning. Most want to avoid probate because it can be slow and complicated. Because the man has no remaining family, the will is not likely to be contested.
Luckily, 22 hours before the auction was scheduled a Superior Court judge blocked the town's action. If the house was auctioned the man may not have been able to redeem the house because of a statutory deadline. To redeem the house the rightful owner must be determined.
The man said, "Yeah, I'm still stuck inside this body where a lot of me is paralyzed. But if you could see inside me, I'm doing this happy dance." But the house is still behind on taxes, most of which has accumulated since the man entered the hospital. The bill, including interest and legal fees, totals around $16,000.
Taxpayers could save money by allowing the man to keep his childhood home. It will cost less to pay for his care at home than in the nursing home, and his care is being paid for by the state. Plus, he would be homeless without his parents' cottage upon discharge. He said, "this is the only place I've ever known and to have heard that I'd be discharged from this facility and that I might find myself homeless is hard to bear."
A trust and estate planning attorney can help others similarly situated to avoid probate and its unintended consequences.
Source: CTpost.com, "Paralyzed man tries to save home," MariAn Gail Brown, April 11, 2012