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My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney with Just Answer. I would be happy to try to help you. I have a couple of questions?
That is a great start? Did your wife hire a South Carolina probate attorney to represent the estate? If not she needs to hire a probate attorney ASAP. He or she can not only probate the estate of her parent, but he or hse can also stop the sale of their house at the tax auction.
Time is of the essence here!
Just a minute please while I look into this for you. I will be back.
The estate now owns the house. (Only living people can own property.)
Your wife is the "Personal Representative" of her mother's estate. (We don't use executor or executrix anymore. They are old fashion.)
If the house is sold at the tax auction, the owner, or in this case the estate of her mother, has 12 months to redeem the house after the sale.
This is called "the period of redemption." That means paying back taxes and likely the expenses of the auction will get the house back. SC laws give the owners a liberal amount of time to redeem their property.
The problem is a lawsuit has been filed by the city. You need to talk to the attorney for the city in this lawsuit. It is too late to talk to the taxing authority in the city where the deceased lived once a lawsuit ha been filed.
South Carolina is a Judicial foreclosure state.
That means the city has to file a lawsuit against the owner if they default on paying the property taxes.
If the owner (now the estate) does not file an Answer to the lawsuit , the defendant is defaulted. The Plaintiff then gets an order from the court to sell the property at the tax auction.
Your wife or her mother should have been served with this lawsuit. Apparently it was either ignored, forgotten or not found. This is why your wife needs to hire a SC probate attorney who practices in the county where the house is located. The estate's attorney will then contact the city attorney about settling the case by paying back taxes and probably the attorney fees and expenses as well, due to the costs they incurred.
Your wife should call the city attorney's office where the house is located, in the morning and talk to the attorney who is handling the lawsuit to at least let him or her know that the house is in Probate, and there is money available to pay back taxes. This would be a good start.
Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I hope my legal information has been helpful and meets with your satisfaction. I hope this will all be settled in probate court, so the estate can keep the house and be passed down to the deceased's heir. Good luck.
My best wishes for success to your wife the Personal Representative (PR) if her mother's estate,