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If I owe the IRS and my name is on a home shared with siblings, Can the irs come after my portion of the home?

Bellingham, MA |

Our mother put the house in my sister's name, my brother and I want our names on it too, I owe the IRS back taxes. Can they get anything from us? Her lawyer said not to put our names on the deed when we called

Attorney Answers 6


  1. The IRS can go after any of your assets that you hold in your name whether in joint tenancy, tenant in common or otherwise. If your mom created a trust to hold your interest and put on restrictive provisions for distributions, you creditors, including the IRS would not be able to get at it. Your mother's lawyer was giving the correct advice in my opinion. That said, there are options for your mother to make the gift to you if that is what she wants. You should encourage your mother to discuss options with her estate planning attorney if that is really what she wants to do.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  2. As my colleague noted, the IRS can go after any assets held in your name, regardless of whether that property is held individually or jointly. If your mother would like you to have an interest in the property, she should talk to her estate planing attorney about transferring the deed to a trust with you and your siblings as beneficiaries. Certain language - called a spendthrift clause - can be included that would protect the property from being taken by any creditors, such as the IRS. Good luck.

    This is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The content of this site may not reflect the most current legal developments. Do not consider this site to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state or country, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of the information contained herein. I am not responsible for any errors or omission in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use of this site under any circumstances. This does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. The other attorneys are correct. If you are gifted a portion of the home, the IRS will want your portion. Your mother should speak with an estate planning attorney so that all of your interests are protected.

    info@cttaxhelp.com Office number: (860) 255-7423 Website: www.cttaxhelp.com. Our reply to your question has not created an attorney-client relationship. It should not be considered legal advice. You should contact an Attorney who can give you legal advice after acquainting themselves with the specifics of your case.


  4. In general, the IRS can put a lien on your property if you owe money. In this case, the lien would cover your interest in the property (the portion/percentage you own). The property could not be sold without the lien being paid first or being paid from the proceeds of the sale. I am not sure whether the lawyer you mention is your mother's or your sister's lawyer, but I suggest you speak with him or her to understand the reasoning behind the advice. You could be opening yourself up to a collection action that you may not otherwise be susceptible to. If you do not understand or agree with the lawyer's advice, speak with a tax attorney in your area.

    Please note: The above is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to establish and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.


  5. I concur with my colleagues. I would also advise you to contact your own attorney regarding resolving the tax issue so that this debt does not continue to "follow you around."

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/


  6. I would just add to this array of responses that if your mother's home was transferred to your sister individually, what were the reasons behind the transfer? For example, if your sister is living with your mother and the transfer was done for MassHealth planning purposes, the lawyer has given good advise. Transferring the property to someone other than the caretaker child could void the transfer and make the asset countable for MassHealth purposes.
    I know it can be frustrating to think that you are being slighted in the distribution, but remember that the assets belong to your mother and as long as your sister is not exerting undue influence, then your mother should be permitted to distribute the assets to whom ever she pleases.

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have an office in Reading. My practice is focused in the areas of elder law, estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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