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What happens to lien after death of person with judgement? Married couple owns property with IRS lien on it.

Harleysville, PA |

My parents bought a property jointly- both names were on the deed. My father had two IRS judgements filed against him but the liens are not against my mother. My father is now deceased and my mother is trying to sell the property. The liens are now showing on the title report. What happens to the judgements against my father now that he's dead?

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Attorney answers 3


The judgments against your father are now held against his estate, including the house. It's probable (but not definite) that your parents held title as tenants by the entirety, which is to say, as a single marital unit with automatic right of survivorship to the surviving spouse. This means that your mother automatically inherits the property, but the liens are not considered satisfied, as they move with the property. Since it's likely that your parents held the estate jointly, it wouldn't matter that one of the owners is deceased.

Either way, the IRS is going to get theirs. What could happen is, she might sell the property subject to the IRS liens, lowering the sale price and passing the lien on to the new owner, who would agree to assume responsibility in return for the lower price. Or, if the new owner does not agree to assume responsibility for the lien, the IRS would take their share out of the proceeds.

No matter how the title is held, at least half of the proceeds will be subject to seizure by the IRS in satisfaction of the lien. I'd need to know some more information to be able to give you useful advice. I'm pretty much in the area of generalities at this point.

Feel free to call me, or any other tax/real estate attorney in PA, for detailed advice. I'd be happy to go over the details with you.

Note: This answer has been given for informational purposes only, and does not constitute actual legal advice, nor has an attorney/client relationship been created thereby. If you wish to create an attorney/client relationship and receive actual legal advice and assistance, please call (610) 909-6433 or send an email to requesting a consultation.


It is likely that your father's share of the proceeds will go to the IRS. Your mother should talk to a tax attorney. Many offer a free consultation. Office number: (860) 255-7423 Website: 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.


Ms. Campbell and Mr. Roseman have given you the correct advice. Since Mr. Roseman is in your state, you should hire him.