Anything worth fighting for is worth hiring an attorney to help you with. Yes, hiring an attorney can be expensive - but what are the consequences if you lose, but may have won had you more information.
I hope this helps
Steven A. Leahy
Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.
You ought to at least be willing to pay a tax attorney who does property tax to spend some time with you and review the facts to determine what your options are regarding a valuable property. The county tax authorities are not much for negotiating, unless you have a good defense to part of the liability. Property tax law does not provide many defenses.
This information is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney with full disclosure of all facts and opportunity to consider all or alternative options.
First, the county doesn't negotiate the taxes due. The only thing they'll negotiate is the payout. However, it sounds like this isn't your property, and the county doesn't own it either. Since the county doesn't own it, they can't sell it to you. You need to be talking to whoever is in charge of the estate. The only other alternative is to buy buy it at the tax sale - for cash.
You should probably hire an attorney. Depending upon the location of the property, and the remaining facts, 26,000 could be just the beginning. You need to determine whether any taxees had been paid over the 14-years. Other jurisdictions could include, if applicable, the city, an ISD, a hospital district, a college, and many others. The only thing you should do at this time is hire an attorney and/or figure out the rest of the story.
The above statements are provided as general information and not intended as legal advice. Each matter has its own set of unique circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed without consultation. You are strongly advised to hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state to represent you.
I agree with Ms. Walter. Taxing jurisdictions don't typically negotiate over the amount of delinquent taxes to be paid. If they did that, everyone would want to do it. The taxes are a priority lien on the property. I think your best option will be to keep track of the status of the delinquent tax case, so you know when it is posted for the tax sale and go bid on it at that time. It would be the easiest way to get clear title as well.
Providing this answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.