Even if the owner of a property dies, property taxes are still due. Each local jurisdiction may have certain exceptions or provisions to defer payment in certain special circumstances.
When people are behind on their taxes, the only recourse local governments have is to sell the tax liability or tax liens at a public auction. Interested investors buy these liens inexpensively and typically for a guaranteed rate of return if and when the delinquent taxpayers pay what they owe.
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Do you want to fight the redemption? Or do you just want to be happy and take the money? If you want to fight, I suggest hiring a local attorney who can go over the redemption statute with you, and strategize how to stop the redemption process.
This is not intended to be legal advice, and is general in nature.
If the prior owner is deceased, it's likely their personal representative (Executor or Administrator) who can redeem the property for the benefit of their estate. If the personal representative fails to act, it's possible that someone else with an interest in the estate of the deceased owner (such as an heir) could seek to redeem the property.
[this is an off-the-cuff response, and is not based on any research or case experience]
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
The simple answer is that anyone who has an interest in the property can redeem it. This would also include the owner's mortgage company or his/her estate.
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